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Chief Justice DY Chandrachud On “Ideological Framework” Of New Criminal Laws

The Chief Justice of India, Justice DY Chandrachud, recently addressed a conference on India’s Criminal Justice System, emphasizing the transformative impact of the country’s newly enacted criminal laws. These legal reforms are set to replace existing statutes and usher in a new era for India’s legal framework.

  1. The Transition:
    • India is on the cusp of a significant overhaul of its criminal justice system. Three new laws—the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam—will replace the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act 1872, respectively.
    • This transition marks a watershed moment because criminal law profoundly impacts society’s day-to-day conduct.
  2. The Moral Arc of a Nation:
    • Criminal law shapes a nation’s moral fabric. Its substantive provisions are guided by the age-old harm principle: “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”
    • Procedural law ensures due process—from initiating criminal proceedings to securing convictions—so that no person faces charges unfairly.
  3. Ever-Evolving Laws:
    • Justice Chandrachud acknowledged that laws and their implementation are dynamic. There is no finality; positive changes are essential to meet contemporary needs.
    • The implementation of the new criminal laws will likely reveal areas that need addressing.
  4. Victim Interests and Efficiency:
    • The reforms aim to protect victim interests and enhance the efficiency of investigations and prosecutions.
    • By modernizing the legal framework, India seeks to adapt to current challenges.
  5. Anticipated Impact:
    • As of July 1, 2024, the new laws will come into effect. India anticipates a more just and efficient criminal justice system.
    • The transition reflects the nation’s commitment to progress and responsiveness to societal demands.

In summary, India’s legal landscape is evolving, and the new criminal laws signify a positive shift toward a more effective and equitable system .

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