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Centre redefines terrorism in new Criminal Code, adds fake currency cases

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NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 12: The Centre on Tuesday revamped the legal definition of “a terrorist act”, including within it threats to the economic and monetary security of the country, through such actions as spreading counterfeit currency or kidnapping, injuring, or causing the death of a public functionary. These are among tweaks proposed to the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, or BNS, which is one of three bills replacing current criminal laws.
The BNS and the two others – the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam – were first tabled in Parliament in August and referred to a committee for further scrutiny but were withdrawn earlier this week to include the committee’s recommendations.
Revised versions of all three were tabled in the Lok Sabha this evening.
According to Section 113 of the BNS, those who threaten, or are likely to threaten, the country by causing “damage to the monetary stability of India, by way of production or smuggling or circulation of counterfeit Indian paper currency…” commits a terrorist act.
Those found guilty of committing a terrorist act shall “be punished with death, or imprisonment for life”, and those who conspire or attempt to abet or incite such action, or knowingly facilitates the commission of a terrorist act, could face a jail term of not less than 5 years and extending to life.
The revisions also include causing harm to mental health in its definition of “cruelty” towards women; in the previous iteration of the BNS, Section 85 provided a 3-year jail term for the husband, or members of his family, found guilty of subjecting his wife to cruel treatment.
The earlier BNS section did not, however, define “cruel treatment”. That has been included and the definition extends to harming the woman’s mental health as well as her physical well-being.
The revised Section 86 defines cruelty to women as “… any wilful conduct, which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury, or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical)”.
A third addition prescribes a 2-year jail term for revealing the identity of a sexual assault victim from court proceedings without their permission.
The Centre has, however, disagreed with two suggestions made by the parliamentary committee as they would have far-reaching consequences and would have been seen as against the Supreme Court and its judgments, sources said.
One is on adultery and the other is on criminalisation of homosexual sex.
The committee had recommended that adultery be retained in the BNS but the Supreme Court had struck down this offence in 2018, saying it discriminated against women, perpetuated gender stereotypes and diminished the dignity of women. In the same year, the Court had also struck down the criminalisation of homosexual sex between consenting adults.
(NDTV)

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