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Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023: Sedition Clause to be Repealed, Focus on Unity and Integrity

A significant legislative shift is underway as Union Minister Amit Shah introduced the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, in the Lok Sabha. This transformative bill seeks to replace the existing Indian Penal Code (IPC) and notably abolishes the contentious Section 124A, commonly known as the sedition clause. Instead, the new bill introduces Section 150, redefining the approach towards actions that endanger India’s sovereignty, unity, and integrity.

Section 124A, the sedition provision in the IPC, criminalizes efforts to foster hatred or disaffection towards the lawful government using words, signs, or other means. The revamped Section 150 addresses acts that intentionally incite secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, or separatist sentiments. It also encompasses electronic communication and financial involvement, underscoring the gravity of such actions.

Under Section 151 of the bill, engagement in warfare against a foreign state at peace with India, or abetting such warfare, is penalized with imprisonment for life or a term up to seven years, accompanied by fines.

Amit Shah’s legislative agenda encompasses not only the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita but also replacements for the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Indian Evidence Act. Speaking in the Lok Sabha, he emphasized that these reforms mark a departure from laws established during British colonial rule, ushering in a new era for the country’s criminal justice system.

The comprehensive bills address critical issues, including mob lynching through a new penal code, stringent measures against child rape, expedited prosecution of civil servants, and the ability to try fugitives like Dawood Ibrahim in absentia. As the bills proceed, they will undergo thorough examination by a Parliamentary panel, signifying a significant stride towards modernizing India’s legal framework.

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