Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023

As a new bill, ‘Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita‘, was proposed by Home Minister Amit Shah on August 11, 2023, India once again proved its unbending opposition against cybercrimes and fake news. The new “Fake News Bill” has stated in a provision under Section 195 that the spreading of fake news or news that is not verified through authentic sources jeopardizes the sovereignty and security of India and can lead to up to 3 years in Jail. While India has laws against fake news, the new bill shows that the government of India is treating this as a serious crime that requires serious punishment. Although laws against fake news have been dealt with with strong actions all over the world, such as in the USA with federal laws for misguiding information, the UK with a law of task force, and China with the strictest law in this matter, in India, this bill is going to begin a new chapter in dealing with fake news.

The question that needs to be answered is why it is so necessary to deal with fake news with such a stringent attitude. During the outbreak of COVID-19, there was barely anyone left who hadn’t acted frantically and eaten things like neem juice and ginger soup. Or hadn’t done things like washing notes and standing in the sun, all because someone forwarded a text to us saying that these could prevent COVID. In times of distress, these ill effects of fake news become more apparent. Fake news holds immense power in instigating people against each other; as we see in many cases, fake news has started riots. The root of spreading fake news, knowingly or unknowingly, can be traced back to the gossip culture that is prominent even in high schools. It is the basic nature of humans to know what is not known to them. To cover the unknown, one takes shelter in lies and fake rumors. It may seem like a harmless fake piece of news at the beginning, but later these harmless lies create mayhem and chaos very often.

In the new Fake News Bill, Section 195 (1) states that anyone who “ makes or publishes false or misleading information jeopardizing the sovereignty, unity, integrity, or security of India, shall be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to three years, or with a fine, or with both.” This new bill is going to replace The Indian Penal Code, 1860. Other bills, such as the Criminal Procedure Code of 1898 and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, are also to be replaced by modern laws. As citizens, we can expect that with the bill getting approved, there will be strict control over spreading fake news.

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