Revolutionizing Justice: New Tech-Driven Criminal Laws in India

Starting July 1, India's criminal justice system will undergo a technological transformation with new laws enabling SMS summons, video call witness appearances, and digital processing of FIRs, court diaries, and judgments. These reforms, piloted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, aim to modernize and expedite legal proceedings, reducing physical court visits by 90%.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 27-05-2024 14:01 IST | Created: 27-05-2024 14:01 IST
Revolutionizing Justice: New Tech-Driven Criminal Laws in India
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Technology will be a key enabler for the new criminal laws that come into effect July 1 as summons will be issued by SMS, 90 per cent witnesses will appear through video calls and courts will issue orders within three years of filing of an FIR, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said.

''I can tell you with confidence that after three years, our criminal justice system will be the most modern criminal justice system in the world,'' he told PTI in an interview over the weekend.

Piloted by the home minister himself, the newly enacted criminal laws -- the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act will come into effect from July 1, replacing the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 respectively.

In the interview, Shah laid out for the first time many details of the new criminal justice system, which he said are almost entirely driven by technology.For example, all court matters will become online and FIR, court diary and judgement will be digitised. Already, officials have collected finger prints data of nine crore criminals across the country in the last five years.

After lifting finger prints from a crime scene, police will be able to identify the criminal and also if the crime has been committed by a repeat offender from that data base of finger prints within seven and half minutes, he said ''We have brought very big reforms (through the new criminal laws). After the laws come into effect, 90 per cent people will not have to go to courts. The witnesses will appear online,'' Shah said.

Earlier, he said, summon meant physically serving it to someone at their home. ''Many such changes have been incorporated (in new laws). Similar is the case with regards to the charge sheet too,'' he said.

The home minister said earlier charge sheet meant submission of volumes of documents, but once the new laws come into force the charge sheet will be contained in a pen drive and the response to it can also be delivered digitally on a pen drive.

''All these matters will now be online. The FIR, court diary, judgement will also be digitised. We have made forensic evidence compulsory in cases where there is a provision for imprisonment for a period of minimum seven years,'' he said.

Asked about the preparation for rolling out the new laws, the home minister said it is going on full swing and training of officials is almost over.

After its implementation, ''one can get an order even from the Supreme Court within three years from the day of registering an FIR'' under the new criminal laws, he said.

The home minister said he had been working on the new criminal laws since 2019 ” after he took charge of the home ministry.

''We have been working towards modernisation of courts and police stations.

Everything is happening with the help of technology. Law is getting modernised through technology,'' he said.

The three new laws were enacted in December 2023 and President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent on December 25.

Meanwhile, officials said the government is also in the process of procuring 900 forensic vans to be stationed in all 850 police districts in the country so that forensic evidence could be collected quickly after any crime and videograph could be done on the crime scene.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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