Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023

Bharatiya Sakshya Bill 2023

Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation, Shri Amit Shah, has introduced three new Bills in the Lok Sabha that propose a comprehensive revamp of the country’s criminal justice system.

These three Bills are intended to replace the existing laws: the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860; the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973; and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Criminal Law Reforms Committee

The Ministry of Home Affairs initiated a significant step towards criminal law reform by forming a committee, as indicated in a notification dated May 4, 2020. The committee was entrusted with the crucial task of reviewing the three codes of criminal law in the country.


Chaired by Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, an esteemed former Vice Chancellor of the National Law University (NLU) in Delhi, the committee brought together legal expertise to undertake this substantial undertaking.


The committee’s primary mandate was to propose comprehensive reforms to the nation’s criminal laws, guided by principles of effectiveness and efficiency. The aim was to modernize and strengthen these laws to better serve the evolving needs of society.

In February, the committee submitted its report.

About the Indian Evidence Act

The Indian Evidence Act is a statutory law that governs the admissibility of evidence in civil and criminal trials in India. It was enacted in 1872 by the British colonial government and is still in force today.

The Indian Evidence Act is divided into 14 chapters and 161 sections. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, including the following:

  • The admissibility of oral and documentary evidence
  • The presumption of innocence
  • The burden of proof
  • The rules of hearsay
  • The admissibility of scientific evidence

The sections of the Indian Evidence Act provide detailed rules on how evidence should be presented in court. The rules are designed to ensure that the truth is established in a fair and impartial manner.

About the Bhartiya Sakshya Bill 2023

Introducing the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, set to replace the existing Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The decision to repeal the old act stems from its inability to address the technological advancements that India has witnessed in recent decades.

The new bill is geared towards aligning the legal framework with the present-day requirements and aspirations of the population. Its primary objective is to consolidate and establish comprehensive rules and principles of evidence, ensuring a fair trial process.

Key Highlights of the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill 2023

  • Revamping the Indian Evidence Act:
    • A new Bill is set to replace the Indian Evidence Act, proposing changes to 23 existing provisions and introducing one new provision. This comprehensive update encompasses a total of 170 sections.
  • Embracing Digital Records:
    • The Bill allows for the acceptance of electronic or digital records as evidence, endowing them with legal validity on par with traditional documentary evidence.
  • Widening Scope of Secondary Evidence: The Bill expands the definition of secondary evidence to include:
    • Copies created through mechanical processes from the original document,
    • Copies created from or compared to the original document,
    • Counterparts of documents in contrast to parties who didn’t execute them, and
    • Oral accounts of document contents provided by individuals who have personally witnessed them.


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