BNS BILL 2023 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Governance)

News-CRUX-10     26th October 2023        
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Context: Recently, a Parliamentary Committee has reviewed the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) 2023 Bill, proposing significant changes to India's Criminal Justice System, recommendations including a gender-neutral provision criminalizing adultery.

Key Highlights of the Proposed Changes in BNS

  • Adultery and Gender-Neutral Provision: A gender-neutral provision criminalizing Adultery has been recommended by the parliamentary committee.

o This recommendation follows the Supreme Court's 2018 declaration that Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized adultery, was unconstitutional.

o The committee's aim is to protect the institution of marriage in a gender-neutral manner.

  • Non-Consensual Sex and Bestiality: The committee is considering the inclusion of a clause that criminalizes non-consensual sex between individuals of all genders, along with acts of bestiality.

o This step reflects an effort to comprehensively address various forms of sexual offenses.

  • Definition of Terms: The committee has proposed improved definitions for terms such as "community service" and "life imprisonment" in the bill.
  • Positive Changes: The new draft code has brought about several positive changes, including the removal of Section 124A (Sedition) and provisions for prosecuting offenses committed in foreign countries.

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) 2023 Bill

  • Origin of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): The Indian Penal Code (IPC) was initially composed in 1834.
  • It was drafted by the first Law Commission, led by Thomas Babington Macaulay.
  • The IPC officially became effective in January 1860.
  • Introduction of the BNS Bill: In 2023, a new legislative proposal known as the BNS Bill was introduced.

o The primary objective of the BNS Bill is to replace the IPC with a more contemporary and updated set of legal provisions.

  • Comparison of IPC and BNS Bill: The IPC is an extensive legal framework, comprising 511 sections.
  • In contrast, the BNS Bill encompasses a more concise set of laws with 356 provisions.
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