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To curb heinous crimes against women and children, Shakti Bill Tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly

On December 9, the Maharashtra cabinet had approved a draft bill, which has been introduced to curb heinous crimes against women and children in the state, was proposed by Deshmukh in a cabinet meeting.

To curb heinous crimes against women and children, Shakti Bill Tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly
(Representational Image)
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The winter session of the Maharashtra Legislative Council began on Monday, December 14. The state government has tabled a bill in the Assembly which provides for strict punishments including the death penalty, life sentence, and hefty fines, for the perpetrators, and also a speedy trial.

State home minister Anil Deshmukh tabled the Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020, as well as Maharashtra Exclusive Special Court (for certain offences against Women and Children under Shakti Law) on the first day of the two-day winter session of the state legislature.

It is expected to be cleared by the House on Tuesday, December 15, which would be the last of the session.

The bill, named 'Shakti' and modelled on the Disha Act in Andhra Pradesh, provides for completion of investigation and filing of charge sheet within 15 days, and completion of trial in 30 days.

The proposed law will also have provisions to tackle threats and messages on social media platforms. It is an important legislation to ensure the accused are sentenced at the earliest, said Deshmukh in the assembly.

The first bill has provision for the amendment in the existing sections of the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for the stricter punishment, while the second one is for establishing special courts, at least one in each district in the state, for trial under the Act.

The proposed amendments to the CrPC seek to bring down the investigation period from two months to 15 days, the trial period from two months to 30 days, and appeal period to 45 days from the present six months.

The law will have provision for special public prosecutors and special police teams, which will have at least one woman officer, and will seek to establish institutions to provide services, including medical or psychiatric support and care, psychiatric counselling to victims, and facilitating legal and financial aid and rehabilitation.

The bill was prepared after more than 10 months of ground work, and was finalised by a high-level committee of the home department, with Deshmukh visiting Andhra Pradesh to study the Disha Act.

Earlier, on December 9, the Maharashtra cabinet had approved a draft bill, which has been introduced to curb heinous crimes against women and children in the state, was proposed by Deshmukh in a cabinet meeting.

The provision of the bill include the death penalty, and fine up to ₹10 lakh for crimes such as rape, acid attack, and derogatory material on social media against women and children.

Read More: Maharashtra Cabinet clears draft bill proposed to curb heinous crimes against women and children

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