New Criminal Laws In Effect: Understanding FIR Filing & Mandatory Crime Scene Videography

India’s criminal justice system will undergo a complete overhaul today with 3 fresh criminal codes replacing the full set of British-era laws, including the Indian Penal Code.

With the introduction of zero FIR, one can file an FIR at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023, enacted late last year, replaced the British-era Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act.

How will one file an FIR under new criminal laws?

• Under the new laws, a person can now report incidents by electronic communication, without the need to physically visit a police station. This allows for easier and quicker reporting, facilitating prompt action by the police.

• Zero FIR: With the introduction of zero FIR, a person can file a First Information Report (FIR) at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction.

Do the complainant receive a copy of FIR?

The answer is ‘Yes’, under the new laws, victims will receive a free copy of the FIR, ensuring their participation in the legal process.

What about those who got arrested?

An interesting addition to the law is that in the event of an arrest, the individual has the right to inform a person of his choice about his or her situation. This will ensure immediate support and assistance to the arrested individual. To strengthen the case and investigations, it has become mandatory for forensic experts to visit crime scenes for serious offences and collect evidence.

What about probes for offences against women, children?

Let me tell you that the new laws prioritized the investigations for offences against women and children, ensuring timely completion within two months of recording information. Under the new law, victims are entitled to regular updates on the progress of their case within 90 days.

Free medical treatment to victims of crimes against women, children

The new laws guarantee free first-aid or medical treatment to victims of crimes against women and children at all hospitals.

Timely justice delivery

Courts grant a maximum of two adjournments to avoid unnecessary delays in case hearings, ensuring timely justice delivery.

Witness protection scheme

The new laws mandate that all state governments implement a witness protection scheme to ensure the safety and cooperation of witnesses and enhance the credibility and effectiveness of legal proceedings.

Who are exempted from attending police stations?

Women, persons below 15 years, persons above 60 years and those with disabilities or acute illness are exempted from attending police stations and can receive police assistance at their place of residence.

Fines for crimes

Under the new laws, the fines imposed for certain crimes have been aligned with the severity of the offences, ensuring fair and proportional punishment, deterring future offences and maintaining public trust in the legal system.

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About the Author: Meera Verma