A couple of minutes before midnight on June 30, the Seelampur police station was relatively calm. At the entrance, the Investigation Officer (IO) and sub-inspector discussed the nitty gritty of a case — possibly Seelampur’s last case under the old criminal codes — with a few people.

“We have just registered a case under the Indian Penal Code. And just after 15 minutes, everything will be registered under the BNS,” said a police officer.

At 12 am on July 1, the three new criminal laws — Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), the Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) — came into effect across the country, preceded by weeks of training. and tests for the police force. These laws replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, respectively.

Back at the police station, at 8.30 am, officers received their first complaint under the new laws. The complainant was Rohtash, a 30-year-old laborer and a resident of a jhuggi in New Seelampur. He was shot in the arm at 60 Foota Road by two unknown persons.

The victim claimed the two accused were intoxicated and passed comments at him, leading to an altercation. Rohtash said the accused asked his partner whether he should kill him and took out a country pistol, firing at his arm.

Festive offer

At 8.47 am, the station’s first FIR is registered under sections 109 (1) and 3(5) of the BNS, 2023. These correspond to sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, 1959.

Twenty kilometers away, at Sagarpur police station, a police officer said it would take time to remember all sections under the new system. “We know the old ones. But now, we will have to get it checked by the IO to ensure everything is fine.”

“Right now, there will be some problems. Like this CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems) website. Since it has been updated with the new set of laws, it has been misrepresenting the number of pending cases,” she added.

The last case registered at Sagarpur under the old criminal laws was under IPC sections 380 and 457 which pertains to theft and trespassing. Under BNS, it would be sections 305 and 331(4) respectively.

At Palam police station, officers were still handling cases registered under the old criminal code. The last IPC case registered was under Section 375, which defines rape. Its corresponding BNS section, 63, would have been applicable in case the offense was reported after June 30.

Officers at the police station said under the new set of laws, coordination will be the key. “Now, forensic experts will be involved in cases which have a punishment of over seven years. If there is an understanding between them and the police, it will work. It will be a more swift system. Else there will be issues,” said an officer.

According to senior officers, around 20 FIRs under the new laws have been lodged across police stations.

Training continues

Meanwhile, police personnel across districts are still undergoing training sessions to adapt to new techniques of lodging FIRs and recording evidence.

Said an officer, “Some officers are still not well-versed with the new laws and how to record videos during an incident. This is why last-minute training sessions are being conducted at different police stations.”

An officer at RK Puram police station said police personnel are still being briefed on the implementation process. “The SHO and even the district DCP are out today for a session.”

Are there any challenges? There are some, a few officers admitted.

Several IOs The Indian Express spoke to throughout the day said that recording videos on their phones, pertaining to seizures or of a crime scene, is a task due to lack of technological know-how.

An investigating officer of Nihal Vihar Police Station said, “There was some confusion on whether we have to record the incident too apart from videographing the search and seizure process in a case… Inspector-level officers have been stationed at the Delhi Police Headquarters, and even at DCP offices, to troubleshoot any such query and I sought their aid.”

“There won’t be a problem with registering cases. We have the chart where corresponding sections of BNS and BNSS to IPC and CrPC are given. It is when we apply it on the ground that we will get to know the complications. Of course, making videos is not easy either,” said an officer at Kapashera police station.