Learning Call July: Reforms or Restrictions? India’s New Criminal Laws and Free Speech

SFLC.in is organizing a virtual Learning Call on “Reforms or Restrictions: India’s New Criminal Laws and Free Speech” scheduled for Friday, July 12th, 2024, at 5-6 PM [IST].

The three new criminal laws, Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill (BSB), as notified by the government of India, have been implemented from July 1, 2024. These legislations are set to replace the British-era criminal laws, including the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973, and the Evidence Act of 1882.

The BNS introduces provisions to regulate online content, including sections on cybercrimes, online defamation, and the sovereignty of the state. Similarly, the BNSS addresses digital communications in sections such as electronic communications, devices, recording of search and seizure through audio video, and seizure of devices, etc. Thus, it focuses on the regulation of electronic transactions and cyber security.

Moreover, the BSA updates the rules for electronic evidence, recognising digital records as primary evidence. This shift acknowledges the growing role of technology in legal proceedings while questions about security and privacy remain.

The Learning Call will explore a range of issues, including bail rights, fair treatment during custody, the right to privacy, digital rights, and more.

The aim of the learning call is:

  • To highlight the existing provisions related to human liberties under the three new law
  • To understand the impact of these laws on the relationship between the State and the people of India
  • To address the challenges posed by these new laws on Free Speech and constitutional guarantees

The discussion will seek to build dialogue and understanding of these three criminal laws, which govern both offline speech and digital communications and have a direct bearing on the exercise of constitutional freedoms.

The list of speakers and more details about the online call will be shared soon.

Registration link: https://form.sflc.in/sflc-in-learning-call-july/

The meeting link will be shared via the registered mail.

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