Nyaya Sanhita: Revamping India’s Legal Framework

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December 22, 2023

Nyaya Sanhita: Revamping India’s Legal Framework

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023


  • The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, aims to overhaul the existing Indian Penal Code (IPC), proposing significant alterations in criminal law. This legislation marks a departure from traditional norms, addressing a spectrum of issues from archaic sections to contemporary societal concerns.

Embracing Change: New Offences

  • The BNS introduces novel provisions to confront evolving challenges:
  • Deceitful Promise to Marry: Clause 69 targets the contentious “love jihad” narrative by criminalizing deceptive promises of marriage. Even consensual sexual activity falls under scrutiny, with severe penalties extending up to ten years of imprisonment and fines.
  • Mob Lynching: Addressing hate crimes and mob violence, the bill codifies stringent measures, allowing punishment ranging from life imprisonment to death for mob-related murders.
  • Organized Crime: For the first time, ordinary criminal law incorporates measures to combat organized crime syndicates. It establishes distinctions based on the presence or absence of fatalities, imposing varying sentences.
  • Terrorism: The BNS broadens the scope of ordinary criminal law to encompass terrorism, adopting language from existing stringent laws. However, operational challenges may arise concerning concurrent application with the UAPA.
  • Attempt to Suicide: A new provision criminalizes suicide attempts with the intent to restrain public servants, potentially curbing certain protest methods.

Revisions and Omissions: Deletions from the IPC

  • The BNS streamlines and omits certain outdated or constitutionally challenged provisions:
  • Unnatural Sexual Offences: Notably, the repeal of Section 377 decriminalizes homosexuality, albeit raising concerns regarding non-consensual acts.
  • Adultery: Following the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling, the offense of adultery is omitted from the BNS.
  • Thugs: The colonial notion of criminality associated with certain tribes is eliminated by the omission of the provision related to “thugs.”
  • Gender Neutrality: While rape laws remain unchanged, the BNS introduces gender-neutral provisions for various offenses involving children and modesty violations.

Other Amendments and Tweaks

  • Beyond additions and eliminations, the BNS introduces nuanced changes:
  • Fake News: The bill introduces provisions criminalizing the dissemination of false and misleading information, adapting to the challenges posed by modern media.
  • Sedition: Despite initial statements suggesting the repeal of sedition laws, the BNS reintroduces the offense under a new name, broadening its definition.
  • Mandatory Sentencing: The bill prescribes mandatory minimum sentences in several instances, limiting judicial discretion but raising concerns about fairness and individual circumstances.


  • The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, reflects a progressive stride towards updating India’s legal landscape. While addressing contemporary issues and rectifying archaic provisions, the bill presents both promise and challenges, ushering in a new era in criminal law.

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Nyaya Sanhita: Revamping India’s Legal Framework | Vaid ICS Institute