Home / Newsroom


Feb 23, 2024

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS) has been passed by parliament to replace the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC); key changes are listed below:

  • Property attachment and Seizure provision (Section 107): That allows a police officer to apply to a court or a judicial magistrate (with the approval of the Superintendent or Commissioner of Police) for attachment of certain properties obtained directly or indirectly, as a result of criminal activity or the commission of any offence, or which are ‘proceeds of crime’ [The word ‘proceeds of crime’ is as defined in Sanhita [Section 111].
  • Electronic Trial and Electronic Communication, jurisdiction in the case of Electronic Communication have also been provided for in BNSS.
  • Trial to be held against a person deemed an ‘absconder’ even if he is not present. All a court needs to do is record reasons in writing and proceed with the trial. The proclaimed absconder has no right to appeal until he appears before the appellate court, and no appeal allowed after three years from the date of judgment.
  • In accordance with the provisions of CrPC, an accused individual is eligible for release on a personal bond once they have served half of maximum imprisonment period, except in cases where the offence carries the penalty of death; now the BNSS introduces modification to the same specifying that ‘this right shall not be applicable to individuals involved in offences punishable by the imprisonment and those facing proceedings in more than one offence”.
  • Medical Examination: BNSS seeks to expand the authority to request such examination to any Police Officer.
  • A newly incorporated provision stipulates that offenses carrying a minimum of 7 years of imprisonment must undergo forensic investigation
  • In continuation of the same, forensic experts will conduct on-site visits to crime scenes, collecting relevant evidence and documenting the procedure using a mobile phone or any other electronic device. In cases, where a state lacks forensic facilities, it is mandated to utilize the facilities of another state.
  • BNSS broadens the provision to encompass the collection of finger impressions and voice samples [from those who have not undergone arrest].
  • Section 20 of BNSS introduces the concept of Directorate of prosecution has been introduced for each of the states to establish (with a prescribed hierarchy) with the stated purpose of monitoring cases by scrutinizing police reports, expediting proceedings and providing opinions on filling of appeals, wherever applicable.
  • Arrest restriction: Section 35 of the BNSS now consolidates Section 41 and Section 41A of the CrPC into one section- in relation to arrest in case of an offence punishable for less than 3 years and where a person is infirm or above 60 years of age, an arrest can be made only if an officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police grants prior permission for such arrest.
  • Handcuffs permitted only in serious and heinous offences such as organized crime, terrorists: Under Section 43 of the BNSS, a police officer is permitted to use handcuffs when arresting an accused in certain cases, mostly relating to serious and heinous offences such as organized crime, terrorists, etc.
  • Police to inform the relatives of a woman: Section 43 (1) of the BNSS, an obligation has been cast on the police to inform the relatives of a woman where she is being held and information about such arrest.
  • Section 51 (3) of the BNSS introduces an obligation upon a medical practitioner to forward without delay the examination report of an accused to the investigation officer
  • Section 172 of the BNSS, a newly inserted provision which casts an obligation on persons to confirm to the lawful directions of a police officer in the fulfillment of any of his duty pertaining to the preventive action of the Police
  • Another change is found in Section 174 (4) corresponding to the Section 154 (4) of the CrPC-provides that the complainant may file an application to the magistrate to register an FIR only if the Superintendent of Police does not investigate the case.
  • Under Section 174 (1) augmented by introducing a time period of a fortnight for a police officer to forward the daily diary report to the Magistrate.
  • Charges to be framed within 60 days: In relation to framing of charges, a timeline of 60 day has been specified under Section 251 (b) of the BNSS for the Sessions judge from the date of the first hearing to frame of the CrPC in writing a charge against the accused.
  • Judge shall give a judgment within 30 days: Section 275 (1) of the BNSS (Corresponding to Section 235 (1)) provides that after hearing arguments and points of law, the judge shall give a judgment within 30 days from the completion of arguments. Which may for specific reasons, extend to a period of 60 days.
  • Upload a copy of the judgment on its portal within 7 days: Section 392 of the BNSS provides that the Court shall upload a copy of the judgment on its portal within 7 days from the date of the judgment.

Conclusively, the unification of the provisions of CrPC in the BNSS is a good step towards efficient enforcement and clarity in the application of the offenses. The use of audio-visual and technological methods for conducting various processes during trials and investigations, as well as the implementation of tougher timetables, is a much-needed improvement.