Reforms in India’s Criminal Justice System

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced three new bills in the Lok Sabha to reform the criminal justice system in India.

These Bills also include the Indian Evidence Bill, which aims to replace the old Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

The move is in response to the need for legal reforms in line with technological advancements and social changes.


The Indian Evidence Bill, 2023 seeks to consolidate and establish general rules and principles of evidence to ensure fair trial in criminal matters.

The present Indian Evidence Act is archaic and lacks provisions to meet the modern scenario.

The new Bill aims to reform the laws of evidence by modernizing them and aligning them with the current needs and aspirations of the public.

Substitution of other laws:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Indian Justice Code Bill-2023, the Indian Evidence Bill-2023 and the Indian Civil Defense Code Bill in the Lok Sabha.

He said that from 1860 to 2023, the country’s criminal justice system continued to function according to the laws made by the British.

Now 3 laws will be changed and there will be a big change in the criminal justice system in the country.

The collective objective of these Bills is to reform the legal framework relating to criminal justice. Indian Penal Code 1860 will now be replaced by ‘Indian Code of Justice 2023’.

The Criminal Procedure Code will be replaced by the ‘Indian Civil Defense Code, 2023’. And for the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the ‘Indian Evidence Act’ shall be substituted.’

Major provisions and changes in the Indian Evidence Bill, 2023:

  • Admissibility of electronic records: The new bill makes electronic or digital records admissible as evidence, giving them the same legal value as traditional paper documents.
  • Repeal, amendment and addition of provisions: The Indian Evidence Bill repeals five existing provisions of the old Evidence Act, amends 23 provisions, and introduces one entirely new provision, resulting in a total of 170 sections.
  • Scope expansion for secondary evidence: The Bill broadens the scope of secondary evidence, allowing it to include copies produced through mechanical processes, equivalents of documents and oral accounts of document contents.
  • Precise and Uniform Rules: One of the primary objectives of the Bill is to establish precise and uniform rules governing the management of evidence during the trial of criminal cases.

Arguments of the Indian Evidence Bill:

The government’s motivation behind introducing the Indian Evidence Bill stems from the observation that the current Indian Evidence Act is inadequate to address the technological advances and social changes that have taken place over the past decades.

By replacing the old law with a modern and comprehensive Bill, the government aims to ensure that the rules of evidence are in line with contemporary requirements.

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