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India’s Proposed New Law to Encompass Financial Scams and Cyber Crimes Under Organized Crime Definition



India's Proposed New Law to Encompass Financial Scams and Cyber Crimes Under Organized Crime Definition

New Delhi: Major financial scams, ponzi schemes, cyber crimes, vehicle theft, land grabbing, and contract killing will come under the ambit of organized crime in the proposed new criminal law, and if such offenses result in the death of any person, the convict will be punishable with death or imprisonment for life.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by BJP MP Brijlal, has lauded the proposed punishments as “a very effective addition” to the existing laws, which it deems inadequate to tackle many serious offenses.

Parliamentary Committee’s Observations

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, led by BJP MP Brijlal, emphasized the shortcomings of current laws in dealing with serious offenses like organized kidnapping, land grabbing, contract killings, extortion, major financial scams, and human trafficking. They commended the suggested penalties as a “very effective addition.”

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Redefining Organized Crime

Under Clause 9 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, a wide range of unlawful activities, including economic offenses like financial scams, running Ponzi schemes, cybercrimes with severe consequences, and human trafficking, would constitute organized crime. The clause defines organized crime as actions carried out by individuals, alone or in collaboration, using violence, intimidation, coercion, corruption, or related means to gain material or financial benefits.

Proposed Changes in Punishment

The proposed legislation introduces severe penalties for organized crime. If the offense results in a death, the convict could face death or life imprisonment along with a substantial fine. In other cases, the penalty includes imprisonment for at least five years and a considerable fine.

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Clarity and Definitions Needed

The committee also recommended clearer definitions for terms like “gang,” “mafia,” “crime ring,” and “criminal organization.” Presently, the lack of distinct definitions leaves uncertainties about criteria for categorizing an organization as “criminal” and any associated procedures for such classification.

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Legislative Changes and Bills Introduced

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS-2023) bill, introduced alongside the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS-2023) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA-2023) bills in the Lok Sabha on August 11, aims to replace the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1898, the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

The reports of the parliamentary panel were presented to the Rajya Sabha on a recent Friday, shedding light on the pressing need for an updated legislative framework to combat the evolving landscape of organized crime in the country.


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