Organised Crime in India: An In depth Analysis of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023
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Organised Crime in India: An In depth Analysis of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023

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Organised crime is a pervasive issue in India, with criminal organizations engaging in various illegal activities on a regular and systematic basis. To address this growing concern, the Indian government has proposed the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 (BNS) as part of its efforts to revamp the criminal justice system. This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the BNS and its implications for combating organised crime in India.


Understanding Organised Crime

Organised crime refers to a complex and structured criminal enterprise that operates with a hierarchy, division of labor, and a code of conduct within its ranks. The primary objective of these criminal organizations is to generate significant profits through illicit means such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, racketeering, and more. They engage in these activities on a regular and systematic basis, much like a legitimate business.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023

The BNS is a proposed legislation that aims to replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) as the primary penal legislation in India. It seeks to provide a comprehensive framework for addressing organised crime in the country. The bill introduces new provisions and expands the definition of organised crime, along with different types and degrees of involvement.

Expanding the Definition of Organised Crime

Under Section 109 of the BNS, organised crime is defined as a continuing unlawful activity carried out by groups of individuals acting in concert, either singly or jointly, or as a member of or on behalf of an organised crime syndicate. The definition includes various unlawful activities such as kidnapping, robbery, vehicle theft, extortion, land grabbing, contract killing, economic offences, cyber-crimes, trafficking in people, drugs, illicit goods or services, and more.

The BNS broadens the scope of continuing unlawful activity by including all cognisable offences within its purview, unlike the previous state legislations that only focused on specific unlawful activities. However, the inclusion of vague terms such as "economic offences" raises concerns about the potential for arbitrary application and confusion in defining the boundaries of organised crime.

Comprehensive Offences of Organised Crime

The BNS introduces comprehensive offences for organised crime under Section 109, which cover different types and degrees of involvement. These offences encompass drug trafficking, human trafficking, various forms of organised gang violence, economic offences like fraud and Ponzi schemes, and more. By consolidating these offences under a single legislation, the BNS aims to streamline the legal framework and enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement in combating organised crime.

Punishments for Organised Crime

The BNS prescribes different punishments for organised crime, depending on the degree of offence and harm caused. The severity of punishments varies from imprisonment for a specified term to life imprisonment or even the death penalty in certain cases. This approach reflects the government's determination to deter individuals from engaging in organised criminal activities and ensure the safety and security of citizens.

Petty Organised Crime

In addition to addressing major forms of organised crime, the BNS also recognizes the need to tackle petty organised crime. Section 110 of the bill defines petty organised crime as crimes that cause general feelings of insecurity among citizens. These offences include chain snatching, vehicle thefts, ATM/ticket frauds, and pickpocketing. By incorporating petty organised crime into the legislation, the BNS aims to address the concerns of everyday citizens and create a safer environment for all.

Implications and Challenges

While the BNS represents a significant step towards combating organised crime in India, several challenges and implications need to be considered. These include the potential overlap of offences with existing laws, concerns about vague definitions and arbitrary application, and the need for effective implementation and coordination among law enforcement agencies.

Overlap with Existing Laws

One key challenge is the potential overlap between the provisions of the BNS and existing laws governing organised crime. Special statutes such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA) already define and address offences related to terrorism and organised crime. It is essential to ensure that the BNS complements these existing laws rather than creating confusion and redundancy.

Vague Definitions and Arbitrary Application

The BNS introduces new definitions and terminology related to organised crime, such as "criminal organisation" and "general feelings of insecurity." These terms lack precise definitions and may leave room for interpretation and arbitrary application by law enforcement agencies. It is crucial to provide clear and unambiguous definitions to prevent misuse and ensure consistent application of the law.

Effective Implementation and Coordination

The successful implementation of the BNS requires robust coordination among various law enforcement agencies at the central and state levels. Effective coordination, information sharing, and training are essential to combat organised crime effectively. Additionally, adequate resources, including technological advancements, must be provided to enhance the capabilities of law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting organised crime cases.


The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, represents a significant step towards combating organised crime in India. By introducing comprehensive offences and expanding the definition of organised crime, the BNS aims to provide a more effective legal framework for addressing this pervasive issue. However, challenges such as overlap with existing laws, vague definitions, and effective implementation need to be carefully addressed to ensure the success of this legislation. With proper coordination and the commitment of all stakeholders, the BNS has the potential to significantly contribute to a safer and more secure India.

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