ANI Photo | Ministry of Law organises Conference titled ‘India’s Progressive Path in the Administration of Criminal Justice System’

The Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, organised a day-long Conference on Saturday on the theme of ‘India’s Progressive Path in the Administration of Criminal Justice System’ at Dr Ambedkar International Centre, Janpath, New Delhi.
The Conference was attended by a large audience and eminent guests comprising of judges of various High Courts, the President and Vice President and Members of ITAT, advocates, academicians, representatives of law enforcement agencies, police officials, public prosecutors, District Judges and other officials and law students, the Ministry of Law and Justice said on Sunday.
The Conference was set on the backdrop of the enactment of three Criminal Laws, namely Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 given their being brought into effect from 1st July 2024.
The Chief Justice of India, Dr Justice DY Chandrachud graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. The other dignitaries who were present were Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Law and Justice, R Venkataramani, Ld Attorney General for India, Tushar Mehta, Ld Solicitor General of India and SKG Rahate Secretary, Department of Justice in the Ministry of Law and Justice.
At the outset, Dr Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, outlined the objectives of the Conference and briefly highlighted the importance of the three Laws, which symbolise a break from the shackles of colonial legal legacy.
In his welcome address, Dr Rajiv Mani, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, highlighted the background of the enactment of the three criminal laws and how it unshackles the legal structure and framework created by the Britishers and meant to perpetuate the British rule in India on the ostentatious ground of establishing Rule of Law.
The existing criminal laws which trace their origin to the colonial era need to come out and define the State- Citizen relationship not based on colonial prejudices and practices but on the principles of access to justice for all. The three laws have hence been enacted to overhaul the criminal justice system in the country to make it citizen-centric, he added.
The Chief Justice of India, Dr Justice DY Chandrachud said that the new Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita(BNSS) provides a holistic approach to deal with crimes in the digital age.
“The BNSS also stipulates that criminal trials must be completed in three years, and judgments must be pronounced within 45 days of being reserved. This would help in clearing the vast backlogs and faster delivery of justice,” he added.
CJI particularly mentioned that it is very heartening to notice that Section 530 of the BNSS allows all trials, inquiries, and proceedings may be conducted in electronic mode, which is in keeping with the needs of the present time. He also invited attention to the importance of protecting privacy in the digital age, especially when dealing with the digitisation of proceedings and of matters pertaining to digital evidence, he said.
The Chief Justice of India further highlighted that while the three criminal laws create provisions that are synchronised to our times, there is a need for the creation of adequate infrastructure for all stakeholders to derive benefit from these laws fully. He highlighted the creation of digital court infrastructure to create technologically equipped court systems for efficient case management for all.
The CJI concluded by stating that laws and their implementation are an ever-evolving area. There is no finality to any law or the manner of its implementation. However, one must be willing to embrace positive changes to meet the needs of the times.
Speaking on the occasion, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Law and Justice pointed out the need for changes in the Criminal Justice system, which was initially brought into effect from the perspective of colonial rulers and lacked Indian spirit and ethos.
Other speakers who addressed the Conference included R Venkataramani, Ld. Attorney General for India, and Tushar Mehta, Ld. Solicitor General of India and SKG Rahate, Secretary, Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice Venkataramani, Ld. Attorney General for India stressed the importance of willingness and commitment to change is essential for building a dynamic legal system. Tushar Mehta, Ld.
The Solicitor General of India spoke about the historical necessity of change and the need for visionary leadership to appreciate and bring about such changes. He highlighted landmark provisions of the three Criminal Laws and how they would revolutionise the Criminal Justice System.
SKG Rahate, Secretary, Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, said that there is a need for the creation of a unified justice delivery system based on e-courts, adoption of AI-based technology, etc. to ensure effective implementation of the three new Criminal Laws.
The Conference comprised three technical sessions on Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 respectively. These sessions explored the legislation’s impact on new-age crimes, procedural changes affecting the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, and the pivotal role of evidence admissibility in the legal process.
The first Technical Session held in-depth discussions on adopting a comparative approach to assess the implementation of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023 (BNS) and addressing futuristic needs. The session was chaired by Hon’ble Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Judge, Delhi High Court.
The second Technical Session delved into the ramifications of the procedural changes introduced by the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 (BNSS) and how the judicial and police officers are to deal with them and its practical implications for the functioning of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies. Hon’ble Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra, Judge, Allahabad High Court, chaired the session.
The third Technical Session discussed the salient aspects of Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 (BSA), like recognising electronic and digital documents/evidence, facilitating electronic summons etc. Justice CD Singh, Judge, Delhi High Court, chaired the session.
The event concluded with a valedictory session graced by Justice P. S. Narasimha, Judge, Supreme Court of India as the Chief Guest. Also, Justice Sanjay Karol, Judge Supreme Court and Justice Rekha Palli, Judge, Delhi High Court, Chetan Sharma, Ld. Additional Solicitor General, Delhi High Court and Chhaya Sharma, Special Commissioner (Trg) of Delhi Police were Guests of Honour.
In his address, Justice PS Narasimha emphasized on the need of putting in place an institutional mechanism for the successful implementation of the three criminal laws.
Justice Sanjay Karol expressed optimism that the focus of BNS on technology and its citizen-centric approach would ensure timely and effective dispensation of justice.
Justice Rekha Palli stated that the new acts provide clear definitions, ensure accessibility, and promote gender equality. Chetan Sharma, Ld ASG highlighted that the new laws are a transition from the colonial legacies towards a system of justice based on Dharma and Bharatiya values.
Chhaya Sharma, Special Commissioner (Trg) of Delhi Police underscored the transformative potential of the new laws and the initiatives to train the police officers. She welcomed the provisions in the law regarding compulsory videography during any search and seizure and the distinction made between organized and unorganized crime.
Dr. Rajiv Mani, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs summed up the deliberations of the technical sessions and highlighted the points which emerged therefrom. The Valedictory Session concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr. Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs

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