India’s proposed Criminal Bill introduces 3-Year Jail term for spreading Fake-News


New Delhi — India’s federal Home Minister, Amit Shah, proposed a criminal bill that calls for imprisonment of up to three years for those who found guilty of spreading fake news and misleading information that jeopardizes the sovereignty and security of India.

He presented the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, in the lower house of parliament on Friday, which has been referred to the Standing Committee for review.

Under Section 195 (1) d of the proposed bill, individuals who make or publish false or misleading information that poses a threat to the sovereignty, unity, integrity, or security of India can be punished with imprisonment, fines, or both.

This section falls under Chapter 11 of the bill, titled ‘Of Offences against the Public Tranquility’, specifically addressing ‘Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration’. Previously, similar provisions were covered under Section 153B of the Indian Penal Code.

During the introduction of the bills in the lower house, the Home Minister emphasized the aim of these laws to protect the rights granted to Indian citizens by the Constitution. He stated that the three bills, namely the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, and Bharatiya Sakhshya Bill, 2023, fulfill a promise outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address to eradicate remnants of slavery.

The bills aim to replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Criminal Procedure Code (1898), and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which were enacted during the British colonial era.

Amit Shah explained, “The Indian Penal Code, 1860 will be replaced by the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023; the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 will be replaced by the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 will be replaced by the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023”.

The proposed legislation reflects the Indian government’s commitment to address the spread of fake news and misleading information, particularly in cases where it poses a threat to national security and unity. The bill’s referral to the Standing Committee suggests a thorough review process to ensure its effectiveness and adherence to constitutional principles.

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