BCI Pledges Support to Legal Practitioners in Operationalising New Criminal Codes

The Bar Council of India on Wednesday pledged its support to legal practitioners through a “time-bound roadmap” to facilitate operationalisation of the three new criminal codes enacted last year.

In a release, Bar Council of India (BCI) chief Manan Kumar Mishra hailed as “seminal” the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam that will replace the Indian Penal Code of 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, respectively.

After being passed by the Parliament in December, the bills subsequently received presidential assent. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs is yet to notify the date on which the new criminal codes will come into effect.

“These bills have now ascended to the realm of law, ushering in a new era by superseding antiquated legislations hailing from the annals of the 19th century,” the Council’s communication said and added that the new laws “laid down the bedrock for transparency, technological assimilation, and forensic advancements aimed at augmenting the efficacy of investigations and bolstering conviction rates”.

For operationalising the new codes, the Council pledged its support to legal practitioners through a “time-bound roadmap” for training and upskilling.

The “roadmap” will include several measures such as identifying key focus areas, developing a structured curriculum to address training needs, collaborating with all stakeholders, utilising digital platforms, organising special training programmes and conducting mock trials, it said.

The Council also said that along with the establishment of regional training centres, outreach programmes and awareness campaigns in collaboration with state or local bar councils will be conducted.

“The Bar Council of India extends heartfelt appreciation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for their steadfast commitment to justice and visionary stewardship in navigating the corridors of progressive reforms in criminal jurisprudence,” the release said.

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“The BCI hopes and trusts that almost all the developing countries will adopt these new laws very soon and bid goodbye to the old colonial laws,” it added.

Applauding the steps taken by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in aligning the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems and Interoperable Criminal Justice System frameworks with the tenets of the new codes, the Council said the advent of NCRB’s user-friendly applications will support all stakeholders.

“The Bureau of Police Research & Development merits commendation for its comprehensive suite of training programs tailored to cater to the exigencies of police personnel, prosecutors, and judicial officers across diverse echelons,” the apex lawyers’ body said.

It also hailed the establishment of state level steering committees under chief secretaries to implement the new codes.

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