New Delhi, Jul 1: The first case under the new criminal justice laws that came into effect on Monday was registered for a motorcycle theft in Gwalior, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, as he asserted that the new laws will give primacy to justice over punishment.

As he appealed to opposition parties not to do politics over the new code that replaces the British-era penal statutes, Shah said India would now have the most modern criminal justice system in the world. Justice would be delivered up to the level of the Supreme Court in all cases within three years of registering the First Information Report(FIR), he added.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) that replaced the Indian Penal Code(IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure(CrPC) and the Indian Evidence Act respectively brought far-reaching changes in the criminal justice system taking into account some of the current social realities and modern-day crimes.

While the BJP dubbed the new criminal laws as a symbol of India's progress and resilience, positioning the country for a more just and secure future, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said it was another case of "bulldozing" existing laws and replacing them with three new bills without adequate discussion and debate.

"Justice can be received up to the level of the Supreme Court within three years of the registration of the FIR," Shah told a news conference, as he expressed hope of a reduction of crime in future as 90 per cent conviction was expected under the new laws.

Shah said the new laws would give priority to providing justice, unlike the colonial-era laws that gave primacy to penal action, and made reporting of crimes even easier by recognising e-FIR, Zero FIR and electronic or digital evidence.

He said the first case registered under the new laws related to a motorcycle theft in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh at 10 minutes past midnight. Earlier, it was believed that the first FIR was filed under the provisions of the criminal code BNS against a street vendor selling water and tobacco products from a cart under a foot overbridge near the New Delhi railway station for alleged obstruction to a public way.

Several states also reported registering the first case under BNS provisions. The cases related to theft, cheating, assault, wrongful restraint, rash and negligent driving among other offences, according to reports from state capitals.

At his media interaction, Shah said the Delhi case was not the first FIR registered in the country under the new laws.

He also said the Delhi Police "dismissed" the case filed against the street vendor after an investigation. "By using the provisions of review, police have dismissed this case."

Delhi Police sources said they will have to inform a court for formally cancelling the FIR.

Police said 23-year-old Pankaj Kumar, a native of Patna, was found selling water, bidi and cigarettes from a cart around 12:15 am.

Shah rejected opposition criticism that the new laws were draconian and repressive. He said they were modern, protects the rights of the victims, and fixes accountability on police forces. "One word sums up the new criminal laws: DRACONIAN!," the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) posted on X.

These are parochial and jaded arguments, aimed at misleading the people. These laws were passed after debates in both the Houses and scrutinised by a parliamentary committee, Shah said, adding that most of the suggestions given by the opposition members in the panel were accepted except those with political colour.

"I am ready to meet anyone who wants. We will meet and also review. But please do not do politics," he said replying to questions about protests from opposition leaders.

In a post in Hindi on X, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, "After the political and moral shock in the elections, Modi ji and the BJP are pretending to respect the Constitution, but the truth is that the three laws of the criminal justice system which are being implemented from today, were passed forcibly after suspension of 146 MPs."

"INDIA will no longer allow this 'bulldozer justice' to prevail in the parliamentary system."

A section of lawyers at the Calcutta High Court and district courts in West Bengal abstained from judicial work on a protest call by the state's Bar Council against the new criminal laws.

Elaborating on the roll out of the new laws, Shah said the judicial process would now be time bound and the new laws set time limits for the judicial system, ending long delays.

"The new laws brought in a modern justice system, incorporating provisions such as Zero FIR, online registration of police complaints, summonses through electronic modes such as SMS and mandatory videography of crime scenes for all heinous crimes.”

Shah said the new statutes were made more sensitive by adding a chapter on crimes against children and women and the inquiry report in such cases were to be filed within seven days.

He said according to the new laws, judgment in criminal cases had to come within 45 days of completion of trial and charges must be framed within 60 days of first hearing.

The home minister said organised crime, acts of terrorism and mob lynching had been defined, sedition was replaced with treason and video recording of all search and seizures made mandatory.

He said a new chapter on crimes against women and children was added, buying and selling of any child made a heinous crime and a provision for death sentence or life imprisonment for gang rape of a minor included.

Officials said under the new laws, overlapping sections were merged and simplified, with only 358 sections against 511 in the IPC.

For example, definitions scattered from sections 6 to 52 have been brought under one section.

Instances of false promise of marriage, gang rape of minors, mob lynching and chain snatching, among others, are reported but the IPC did not have specific provisions for dealing with such incidents.

These have been addressed in the BNS, the officials said.

A new provision has been made for cases such as abandonment of women after making sexual relations on the false promise of marriage.

The three laws were based on justice, transparency and fairness, the officials said.

Under the new laws, a person can now report incidents by electronic communication, without the need to physically visit a police station.

This allows for easier and quicker reporting, facilitating prompt action by the police.

With the introduction of Zero FIR, a person can file an FIR at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction.

The new laws also evoked mixed reactions from legal luminaries with some hailing them as "significant step" towards modernising the criminal justice system and others terming them as "draconian" and "cosmetic". PTI