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Three new laws have unshackled Indian Criminal Justice system from colonial legacy, says VP Dhankhar

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HYDERABAD, Dec 27: The three new laws — the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act — have unshackled the Indian Criminal Justice system from its colonial legacy while keeping the focus on justice rather than punishment, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar said on  Wednesday.

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Speaking after releasing a postal special cover to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of legal luminary late Justice Konda Madhav Reddy, former Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh and Mumbai High Courts, Dhankhar here said he is happy to note that all three organs — the judiciary, the executive and the legislature are performing commendably and catalysing the unprecedented rise of Bharat.

During the past decade, significant strides have been made in the judicial system, emphasising digitalisation through the eCourts project and the National Judicial Data Grid, he said.

These have not only enhanced transparency and accessibility, but have resulted in reduction in pendency of cases, the vice-president added.

Major legal reforms included the establishment of commercial courts and amendments to arbitration laws, aiming at faster dispute resolution, he said, adding that initiatives such as the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) have been taken to strengthen legal aid mechanisms for the underprivileged sections of society, ensuring access to justice for all.

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“When we come to the legislature, just a few days ago, three new (criminal code) bills were introduced. They got the assent of the President of India,” he said.

“The new laws — the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act — have unshackled the Indian Criminal Justice system from its colonial legacy, while keeping the focus on justice rather than punishment. It is a monumental, revolutionary change from ‘Dhanda vidhan’ to ‘Nyaya vidhan’,” Dhankhar said.

President Droupadi Murmu on Monday gave assent to the criminal justice bills, turning them into laws.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act will replace the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.

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Lauding the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill by Parliament, which seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, the vice-president said it was another landmark in our legal landscape.

This law marks a long overdue measure that will give women their rightful place in our democracy, and amplify the voice of one half of our society, he said.

According to him, India’s digital penetration has been so very impactful that the digital transactions in 2022 were four times the combined transactions of USA, UK, France and Germany.

The per capita internet consumption of the country was more than that of the USA and China taken together while India’s UPI (unified payment interface) has been adopted even by countries like Singapore, Dhankar said.

The most transformative steps have been undertaken by the government through public participation, highlighting the strength of our democracy, he remarked.

From undertaking a nationwide ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign to bringing nearly a billion people online through a path-breaking digital public infrastructure push, the face of Bharat “we are witnessing today is markedly different from what we have seen even a decade ago,” Dhankhar noted.

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and Telangana High Court Chief Justice Alok Aradhe were among the dignitaries present. (PTI)

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