ITANAGAR, July 3: The Press Information Bureau (PIB) Itanagar organized a Vartalap/Media Workshop on the new criminal laws at Pare Hall (DK Convention Hall) on July 3. Chukhu Apa, IGP (Law & Order), Arunachal Pradesh Police, graced the occasion as the chief guest. Neha Yadav, Principal of the Police Training Centre (PTC) and Director of Forensic Lab, served as the resource person and addressed the participants.

The workshop commenced with the lighting of the lamp, followed by an inaugural speech by deputy director of Doordarshan Kendra Itanagar, Deepak Kumar, who emphasized the necessity of the new laws to address contemporary needs.

Neha Yadav provided an interactive and comprehensive overview of the three new criminal laws: Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam. She highlighted key aspects designed to modernize and streamline the justice system, ensuring timely justice and enhanced protection for women and children.

The new criminal laws aim to deliver justice within a fixed timeframe, with efforts to resolve cases within three years and eliminate the cycle of prolonged trials. Specific timelines are established for various stages, such as FIR registration within three days, investigation report submission within seven days for sexual harassment cases, and framing of charges within 60 days of the first hearing. Judgments in criminal cases are expected within 45 days after the conclusion of hearings.

A notable shift in the new laws is towards a justice-centric rather than punishment-centric approach, emphasizing community service for minor offenses, including thefts valued under 5,000 rupees. This approach aligns with Indian philosophy of law and aims to integrate offenders back into society.

Crimes against women and children are given priority, with stringent penalties for offenses such as gang rape, which now carries a sentence of 20 years imprisonment, life imprisonment, or the death penalty for gang rape of minors. New provisions also criminalize false promises or concealing identity for sexual relations, and mandate the recording of victim statements in the presence of a female officer or guardian.

Proclaimed offenders face severe penalties, with provisions to confiscate assets in collaboration with other countries. The use of technology is heavily integrated into the new laws, promoting digital transformation from police investigations to court proceedings, including e-FIRs and virtual court appearances. Forensics are now mandatory in cases with penalties of seven years or more, aiming to enhance the credibility of evidence and increase conviction rates.

Victim-centric laws ensure the rights of victims to be heard, to information, and to compensation. Zero FIRs can now be filed anywhere, and victims receive regular updates on the investigation process. Enhanced police accountability is also a focus, with mandatory videography during search and seizure and stringent provisions to ensure proper conduct by law enforcement.

The new laws also define and penalize organized crimes and terrorism with severe punishments. Mob lynching is now clearly defined and penalized, with significant consequences for such acts.

The workshop also included a Q&A session where the chief guest and resource person addressed journalists' queries and outlined future plans for implementing these laws and expanding forensic labs. IGP Chukhu Apa discussed the challenges of implementing these laws and provided a tentative timeline for their rollout.