Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill 2023 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     23rd August 2023        
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Context: The proposed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill (BNS) says that causing “floods” is a terrorist offence.

  • The Bill that seeks to replace the British-era Indian Penal Code defines terrorism as a separate offence for the first time as part of a general law. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, of 1967 is a special law focused on terrorist activities.
  • Section 111 (6) (a) of the Bill says that a “terrorist” refers to any person who “develops, manufactures, possesses, acquires, transports, supplies or uses weapons, explosives, or releases nuclear, radiological or other dangerous substance, or cause fire, floods or explosions.”

About Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill (BNS)

  • The initial Law Commission, led by Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1834, was responsible for drafting the Indian Penal Code. Its enforcement commenced in January 1860.
  • This Bill will replace the Indian Panel Code.
  • Proposed Changes in Bill: It suggests amendments to existing clauses, including defamation, crimes against women, and attempted suicide.
  • The Indian Penal Code comprises 511 sections, while the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill encompasses 356 provisions.
  • This Bill introduces a definition of the term "terrorism," marking the first instance of such a definition, unlike the IPC.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA)

  • Passed: in 1967.
  • Aims: To effective prevention of unlawful activities and associations in India.
  • The Act grants complete authority to the central government
  • If the Centre perceives an activity as illegal, it can proclaim it as such through an Official Gazette.
  • UAPA Apply: Both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.
  • Meaning of Unlawful Activity: It pertains to any action by an individual or group with the intent to undermine India's territorial integrity and sovereignty.