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With RPC being history, new criminal laws to come into force in J&K from July 1

Ziraat Times Team Report

Srinagar: The Union government on Saturday issued three gazetted notifications to announce that India’s new criminal laws will come into force from July 1. These new laws will also supersede the criminal penal code in effect in Jammu & Kashmir, which had a separate penal code,  called the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) prior to 5 August, 2019.

Jammu and Kashmir State Ranbir Penal Code,  or RPC, enacted in 1932, was the main criminal code applicable in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Penal Code (IPC), applicable elsewhere in the country, was not applicable in J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution of India before 5 August, 2019.

The Parliament passed the bill to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on 5 August 2019, which also saw the dissolution of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).

The code was introduced during the reign of Maharaja Ranbir Singh and hence named after him. It was made on the lines of Indian Penal Code prepared by Thomas Babington Macaulay.

The three new laws dubbed as Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act were passed by the Parliament, where the BJP enjoys a majority, during the Winter Session of the Parliament. On December 25, President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent to the laws.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 1 of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (46 of 2023), the Central Government hereby appoints the 1st day of July, 2024 as the date on which the provisions of the said Sanhita, except the provisions of the entry relating to section 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, in the First Schedule, shall come into force,” the notification read.

The new laws will replace the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 respectively. They aim to completely overhaul the criminal justice system by giving definitions of various offences and their punishments.

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