Mrinal Satish, Preeti Pratishruti Dash, Anushka Pandey

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill: Implications of Proposed Changes to the Indian Penal Code

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, meant to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Union Government in August 2023. The Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs. It is scheduled for discussion in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament that began on 4 December 2023. 

The Bill makes a number of changes to the IPC although it does not overhaul it. The minor changes pertain to: 

  • Definitions of a few terms that existed in the IPC; 
  • Provisions relating to punishments; 
  • Some of the defences available under the IPC; 
  • Provisions relating to sexual offences and kidnapping; and 
  • Offences under the IPC, including mischief, grievous hurt, theft, and forgery. 

The BNS also introduces offences not covered under the IPC, including those related to organised crime, and terrorism, drawn largely from existing special laws on the issue. Given the centrality of the IPC to criminal law and justice in India, it is important to highlight the implications of the changes proposed by the BNS.

Based on a clause-by-clause comparison of the provisions of the IPC and the BNS, this table highlights each of these proposed changes and discusses their possible implications.

About the Authors

Mrinal Satish is a Professor of Law at NLSIU.

Preeti Pratishruti Dash is Assistant Professor of Law at NLSIU. 

Anushka Pandey is a Research Associate at NLSIU.