On Tuesday (12 December), the government revised the legal interpretation of "a terrorist act", expanding it to encompass threats to the nation's economic and monetary stability through actions like the circulation of counterfeit money or the kidnapping, harm, or murder of a public official.
According to NDTV, these are some of the modifications suggested for the Bharatiya Nyaya Samhita, or BNS, which is one out of three bills aimed at supplanting the existing criminal laws.
The BNS, along with the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Samhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, were initially presented in Parliament in August and sent to a committee for additional examination.
However, they were retracted earlier this week to incorporate the committee's suggestions.
As per Section 113 of the BNS, individuals who pose a threat to the nation by potentially disrupting India's monetary stability through the production, smuggling, or distribution of counterfeit Indian paper currency are committing a terrorist act.
Individuals convicted of carrying out a terrorist act are subject to penalties ranging from life imprisonment to the death penalty. Additionally, those who are found to conspire, attempt to assist, provoke such actions, or knowingly aid in the execution of a terrorist act, may be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison, up to a life sentence.
The updated changes also incorporate damage to mental health as part of the definition of "cruelty" towards women. Previously, in the BNS, Section 85 stipulated a three-year prison sentence for the husband, or his family members, if they were convicted of treating his wife cruelly.
The previous section of BNS did not provide a definition for "cruel treatment". However, it now includes a definition that encompasses harm to both a woman's mental health and her physical well-being.
The updated Section 86 categorises cruelty towards women as "... any deliberate behavior that is of a type that could potentially lead the woman to contemplate suicide, or to inflict severe harm, or pose a risk to life, limb, or health (be it mental or physical)".
The third amendment mandates a two-year imprisonment for disclosing the identity of a sexual assault victim involved in court proceedings without their consent.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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