Three new laws to overhaul the criminal justice system from July 1

Three new laws

New Delhi: The Indian government has announced that three new laws, namely the Indian Justice Code, the Indian Civil Defense Code, and the Indian Evidence Act, will come into force from July 1, 2024. These laws aim to replace the outdated and colonial-era laws of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The new laws are expected to bring about a radical transformation of the criminal justice system in the country by introducing new definitions, punishments, and procedures for various crimes.


The government prepared the three new laws as part of its agenda to reform the criminal laws of the British era. The laws were passed by the Parliament on December 21, 2023, and received the assent of President Draupadi Murmu on December 25, 2023. The Union Home Ministry issued three separate notifications on February 24, 2024, declaring July 1 as the date on which the provisions of these acts will come into force.


The new laws have several features that distinguish them from the existing laws. Some of the main features are:

  • The Indian Justice Code (IJC) replaces the IPC and defines 20 new crimes, such as organized crime, hit and run, mob lynching, cybercrime, etc. It also abolishes the sedition law of the British era and provides the death penalty for crimes like rape of a minor and mob lynching. It also increases the prison sentence for 33 crimes and the penalty for 83 crimes. It also introduces community service as a punishment for six crimes.
  • The Indian Civil Defense Code (ICDC) replaces the CrPC and lays down the procedures for investigation, trial, bail, appeal, etc. It also incorporates the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, etc. It also empowers the police to arrest without a warrant for certain offenses and grants them immunity from prosecution for actions taken in good faith.
  • The Indian Evidence Act (IEA) replaces the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 and defines the rules for admissibility, relevancy, and weight of evidence. It also recognizes electronic and digital records as valid evidence and allows confessions made before a magistrate as admissible evidence. It also provides for the protection of witnesses and victims and the use of video conferencing and other technologies for recording evidence.
Three new laws

The three new laws are expected to bring about a major change in the criminal justice system in India by modernizing and streamlining the laws and procedures. The government claims that the new laws will ensure speedy justice, deter crime, protect the rights of the accused and the victims, and uphold the rule of law. However, some critics have raised concerns about the potential misuse of the new laws, the lack of consultation with the stakeholders, and the impact on the federal structure of the country. The implementation and effectiveness of the new laws will depend on how they are interpreted and enforced by the judiciary, the police and the society.