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How BNSS 2023 is revolutionizing Indian justice system

opinionHow BNSS 2023 is revolutionizing Indian justice system

The technology focus of the BNSS will go a long way in delivering speedy, robust and transparent justice.

The recently passed Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) 2023 makes extensive use of technology across all aspects of the criminal justice process—from filing FIRs to investigations, trials and sentencing. This progressive Act aims to harness technology to deliver speedy and fair justice while enhancing transparency and accountability.

E-FIRS AND APP-BASED COMPLAINTS: The new law provides for electronic FIR registration through email, web portals or a dedicated mobile app under Section 154. This eliminates delays, ensures real-time registration and enables remote filing from any location. Geo-tagging further bolsters evidentiary value.

MOBILE-BASED INVESTIGATIONS: Key investigative processes like crime scene visits, seizure memos and arrest memos will be video recorded on mobile phones as per Sections 105 and 176. This reduces manipulation and brings greater transparency to investigation while preserving a tamper-proof record for the judiciary.

VIDEO-CONFERENCING FOR TRIALS: Extensive provisions under Sections 193, 227, 251, 254, 262, 308, 316, 336, 355 and 392 for audio-video linkage between courts, jails and witnesses will facilitate remote depositions and virtual courtrooms. This will significantly quicken trial timelines, especially for undertrials. Court proceedings can also be digitally recorded for reference.

E-COURTS AND DIGITIZED RECORDS: BNSS envisages complete digitization of court records, filings and administrative processes under the eCourts program as outlined in Section 530. This will lead to speedier filing, efficient record management and greater transparency.

The Act mandates forensic evidence collection for serious crimes under Section 176. Explicit provisions for collecting digital evidence using hash values and blockchain will help curb forgery and enhance credibility.

Overall, the technology focus of the BNSS—from app-based complaints to evidence gathering, virtual trials and digitized records—will go a long way in delivering speedy, robust and transparent justice while saving time and costs across the board. The extensive use of video and technology at all stages will significantly bolster the accuracy of investigations and accountability of law enforcement.

As India leaps into the digital age, the progressive BNSS draws on emerging technologies to build a judicial system that is modern, transparent and fair in true spirit. The technology provisions will significantly enhance access and timeliness while improving the quality of evidence presented before the courts.

Khushbu Jain is a practicing advocate in the Supreme Court and founding partner of the law firm, Ark Legal.

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