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New criminal laws can reduce crimes against women: DIG

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PIB and police organise a media workshop on 3 sets of rules to come into effect on July

SHILLONG, June 27: Deputy Inspector General of Police, Davis NR Marak on Thursday said the new criminal laws set to take effect from July 1 have the potential to reduce crimes significantly.
He said this on the sidelines of a media workshop titled ‘Vartalap’ organised by the Press Information Bureau under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in collaboration with the Meghalaya Police in Shillong.
Three new criminal laws – the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) of 2023 – aimed at overhauling the criminal justice system in India were discussed at the workshop.
“The existing laws dealing with crimes against women and children have been strengthened in the new criminal laws. We are hopeful that these laws to come into force on July 1 will help in reducing crime against women and children,” Marak said.
He highlighted several key initiatives of the state police. “In every police station, we have juvenile justice units dedicated to children and special police officers assigned to handle crimes against children. Additionally, women’s desks cater specifically to crimes against women and children. Whenever such crimes are reported, we take active steps to resolve cases as quickly as possible,” he said.
Marak said the implementation of these laws will be a “momentous occasion”, affirming that the Meghalaya Police are fully prepared for this transition. “A total of 2,561 police personnel in Meghalaya have been trained on the new laws so far,” he stated.
He emphasised that officers have been educated on the applicability of the new laws and how to approach crimes and cases under these regulations. The preparations for implementing the new laws have been extensive, he added. “We have conducted extensive training for police officers to ensure they are ready to enforce these new laws effectively. While we are prepared, there will inevitably be challenges when it comes to practical implementation,” Marak noted.
“We hope that our officers have understood what they have been trained about, and now we need to translate this training into actual implementation,” he said.
Marak highlighted the shift from the archaic colonial system to a more contemporary and citizen-friendly legal framework. “These new laws have been designed to strengthen law and order by making existing laws relevant to contemporary situations and providing speedy justice to the common man,” he said.
He explained that the BNS focuses on ‘Nyaya’ or justice, marking a shift from punishment to a justice-centric approach.
Discussing the BNSS, Marak underscored its citizen-centric criminal procedures, including standardised methods for handling forensic evidence and timelines for investigations and trials.
“Timelines have been prescribed for time-bound investigations, trials, and pronouncements of judgments. A citizen-centric approach has been adopted for the supply of FIR copies, including digital means, and summary trials are mandatory for petty cases,” he said.
The BSA was highlighted as a crucial update to the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, incorporating technological advancements. “The BSA provides for electronic evidence and permits the appearance of witnesses, accused persons, and experts through electronic means like video conferencing,” Marak explained.
During the panel discussion moderated by Ratul Baruah, former News Editor of The Meghalaya Guardian, several key figures shared their insights. They included Patricia Mukhim, Editor of The Shillong Times; Vivek Syiem, Assistant Inspector General of Police; Khalid Khan, Additional Advocate General, Meghalaya; RL Blah; and Anita Nongkhlaw.
Mukhim expressed concerns over the low conviction rate in Meghalaya but was optimistic that the new laws’ promise of time-bound verdicts would ensure timely justice. She praised the efforts of PIB Shillong in organising the workshop and called for more such initiatives to disseminate the essence of the new laws to the grassroots level.
Other notable participants included Bipul Das, DSP Crime, East Khasi Hills, and Ravi Kant Mishra, Associate Professor, Department of Law, NEHU, Shillong, who provided detailed introductions to the new criminal laws. Debu Lyngdoh, Joint Secretary of the State Law Department, emphasised the importance of the new laws for the state’s law enforcement and judicial processes.
The interactive session saw community representatives, students, teachers from law colleges, journalists, and media persons discuss the state’s readiness and the practical implementation of the new amendments. AIGP Syiem highlighted the initial training for staff and technological advancements such as e-FIR applications and QR codes to streamline police work. Khan shared perspectives from the judiciary, while community leaders addressed local challenges and praised the new laws for improving public access to legal processes.
In his concluding remarks, Marak stressed the need for the transition from old to new criminal laws, making the criminal justice system more citizen-friendly, accessible, and transparent.

 

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