On Wednesday, the State Cabinet approved a draft Bill that includes provisions for stern punishment – including a death penalty, life sentence, and hefty fines, for the perpetrators as well as speedy trials. Such bill is approved to curb the heinous crimes against women and children in Maharashtra.
The draft Bill seeks to amend relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for the proposed law.
Key features of Maharashtra’s ‘Shakti Act 2020’are;
- 15-day limit for investigation of the crimes, which may get extended by seven days for a valid reason
- Trial to be taken on a day-to-day basis and completed within 30 days from filing charge sheet. The case must be dismissed within 45 days.
- Special courts & police teams to be set up in every district
- Maintaining a women and children offenders registry
- Acid attack to be made non-bailable offence with imprisonment not less than 10 years, which may be extended to life imprisonment or death. A fine may also be levied up to Rs 10 lakh.
- With women being harassed on social media, the act recommends two years’ imprisonment with fine up to Rs 1 lakh.
In the state legislature during its upcoming winter session, said Home minister Anil Deshmukh. He said the Bill, is to be called the ‘Shakti Act’, will come up for discussion and approval in both houses of the legislature.
“It provides for completing probe in a case within 15 days and trial within 30 days,” Deshmukh said.
The Bill will be sent to the Central government for approval and Presidential assent after getting a nod from the House, he added.
After a veterinarian was raped and murdered in Hyderabad, triggering widespread public outrage, Andhra Pradesh’s Disha Act, was brought last year to curb crime against women and children . The Shakti Act is modelled on the lines of the Disha Act.