New Delhi, Jun 28: All 17,500 police stations in the country will hold a special event on July 1 involving women, youth, students, senior citizens and eminent personalities to apprise them the key features of the new criminal laws, which will come into force on that day, official sources said.

The new laws -- Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 -- will come into effect from July 1. These laws are set to replace the British-era Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act respectively.

Sources said coinciding with commencement of these three criminal laws, an event will be held on July 1 by the officer-in-charge of each police station in all states and Union Territories highlighting the key features of the new criminal laws.

The programme at the police station or a suitable place will involve women, youth, students, senior citizens, retired police officers, eminent personalities and members of self-help groups, anganwadi centres and local peace committee and also educational institutions like schools, colleges etc, they said.

According to a data of the Police Organizations compiled by Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D), there are over 17,500 police stations in the country.

All higher education institutions under the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) as well as in the states and UTs will organise a day long activities on July 1 that will focus on group discussions, workshops, seminars on various provisions of new criminal laws, highlighting the major transformation intended to achieve the ends of justice with wide participation of students, faculties and other staff.

Zero FIR, registration of police complaints online, summons through electronic modes and mandatory videography of crime scenes of all heinous crimes are the key highlights of the three new criminal laws.

The Union home ministry is gearing up to roll out the three new criminal laws from next week with 40 lakh grassroots functionaries trained to ensure people are aware about the legislations and the impact these will have on everyone, particularly women and children, official sources said Wednesday.

Over 5.65 lakh police, prison, forensics, judicial and prosecution officials have also been trained about the new laws.

The BPR&D also conducted 250 training courses, organised webinars and seminars in which 40,317 officers and personnel have been trained.

Under the new laws, victims will receive a free copy of the FIR, ensuring their participation in the legal process.

An interesting addition of 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.

Besides, arrest details will now be prominently displayed within police stations and district headquarters, allowing families and friends of the arrested person easy access to important information.

To strengthen the case and investigations, it has become mandatory for forensic experts to visit crime scenes for serious offences and collect evidence. Additionally, the process of evidence collection at the crime scene will be mandatorily videographed to prevent tampering of evidence.

This dual approach significantly enhances the quality and reliability investigations and contributes to a fair administration of justice, sources said.

The new laws prioritised 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.

This provision keeps victims informed and involved in the legal process, enhancing transparency and trust.

The new laws guarantee free first-aid or medical treatment to victims of crimes against women and children at all hospitals. This provision ensures immediate access to essential medical care, prioritising the well-being and recovery of victims during challenging times.

Summons can now be served electronically, expediting legal processes, reducing paperwork, and ensuring efficient communication between all parties involved.

For certain offences against woman, statements of the victim are to be recorded, as far as practicable, by a woman magistrate and in her absence, by a male magistrate in the presence of a woman to ensure sensitivity and fairness, creating a supportive environment for victims.

Both the accused and the victim are entitled to receive copies of the FIR, police report, chargesheet, statements, confessions, and other documents within 14 days.

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

The new laws mandates all state government to implement witness protection scheme to ensure the safety and cooperation of witnesses, enhancing the credibility and effectiveness of legal proceedings.

The definition of "gender" now includes transgender individuals, promoting inclusivity and equality.

By conducting all legal proceedings electronically, the new laws offer convenience to victims, witnesses, and accused, thereby streamlining and expediting the entire legal process.

In order to provide more protection to the victim and enforce transparency in investigation related to an offence of rape, the statement of the victim shall be recorded through audio video means by police. PTI