From Colonial Legacy to Indigenous Harmony: Evaluating the Transition Towards the Indianisation of The Criminal Justice System

  • Mukul Mahar and Dr. Ratnesh Kumar Shrivastava
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  • Mukul Mahar

    Student at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

  • Dr. Ratnesh Kumar Shrivastava

    Assistant Professor at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

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By exploring how India’s criminal justice system came to be what it is in the aftermath of statutory independence, this article charts the many pathways along which the country’s criminal law slowly came to be infused with indigenous legal principles and values, the challenges it has faced along the way, and the fractures that have emerged as a result. Beginning with a historical analysis of the formation of the IPC, and delving into its distinctive colonial legacy, the piece then traces the forms of post-independence continuity and early reforms, before delving into India’s initial ‘Indianization’ movement, exploring these through legislative amendments, the role of the judiciary and charting some of the key challenges to legal education and practice in the country until now. These include case studies, which highlight and illuminate more recent cases in which vertical entryism appears to have occurred, as well as others in which this has failed. The piece concludes by discussing how this kind of vertical entryism has informed a recent move towards a new code through the Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) (2023), one that promises to be a dramatic departure from its predecessors and the legacy of colonial governance in the subcontinent, in pursuit of truly modernism. Here, by juxtaposing IPC and BNS, the article shows how the latter manages to maintain the essence of many offences, focusing particularly on offences against property, offences affecting the human body, new specific offences, mob lynching and offences that have no equivalents in the IPC. It also considers the deletion of an offence and operates as a deterrent for others, such as what happens to the sedition offence and whether there is a risk of overlaps and even compulsions between the BNS and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 2, Page 3891 - 3906


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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


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