Jharkhand HC flags error in one edition of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita

The new law, one of three controversial new criminal laws, comes into effect today, 1 July

Representative image
Representative image

NH Digital

A bench of justices Ananda Sen and Subhash Chand of Jharkhand High Court has pointed out that in one of the editions of the newly introduced Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), section 103(2) — which deals with lynching— has been wrongly reproduced.

The high court took suo motu cognizance of the error in the Universal LexisNexis edition of the BNS bare act. Section 103(2) of the new law reads: “When a group of five or more persons acting in concert commits murder on the ground of race, caste or community, sex, place of birth, language, personal belief or any other similar ground each member of such group shall be punished with death or with imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

The LexisNexis version, however, uses the words “any other ground” instead of “any other similar ground”.

Observing that the error could have “serious consequences”, the bench directed the publisher to publish a corrigendum in national and regional newspapers.

According to a report in the Indian Express, Jharkhand High Court lawyer Mohammad Shadab Ansari, who has represented lynching victims in various cases, said the words “any other grounds” could mean anything, including property disputes.

“While in lynching (the 2018 Supreme Court), Tehseen Poonawalla judgment will have a bearing. For example, BNS’s corresponding provisions in IPC (Indian Penal Code) 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) will be added in the FIR, compensation will be given, and (the case) has to be tried in fast-track courts.”

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