Maharashtra Cabinet Drafts Shakti Criminal Law Bill That Provides Death Penalty For Rape

Source/ Mumbai Mirror

The Maharashtra Cabinet approved two bills on Wednesday, the bills contain provisions for a death penalty for crimes such as rape, child abuse and acid attacks
By Nikita John |December 10, 2020 | Mumbai

Maharashtra was ranked third to have reported crimes against women, according to the National Crime Records Bureau report for 2019, after Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. It accounts for 9.2 per cent of the total crimes reported against women.

Source/ NCRB Report 2019

The two bills, Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020 and the Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law, 2020, will be presented at the table during the two day Winter Session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

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According the the bills drafted, provide for a special police team to be set up and separate courts will be set up for investigation and trial of cases against women and children. It also states that all investigations must be completed within a stipulated time frame of 15 working days rather than the standard two moth timeframe and trials conducted to be completed in 30 working days rather than 60. The draft also states that if found guilty, the perpetrator will be imprisoned for not less than 10 years, which could also extend to life imprisonment, and a death sentence in case the crime is of a gruesome and heinous nature. A sun of Rs 10 lakh will be given to victims of an acid attack for plastic and reconstruction surgeries, the amount will be collected as a fine from the convict.

Threatening and defaming through any channel of communication will attract up to two years’ jail or a fine of Rs 1 lakh is a new category of crime defined in the bills.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh stated that once both bills are cleared by both Houses of the legislature, they will be sent to the Center for approval. Minister Varsha Gaikwad said that the state government will ensure that the identity of the victim will be protected under all circumstances and that the media will not be allowed to report the name of the rape victim. The bill also provides the same protection clause for victims of molestation and acid attacks.

The Maharashtra government had in 2019 announced that it will be introducing a law on similar lines like the Andhara Pradesh Disha Act that has a provision for a death penalty for rape instead of the standard 10 to 20 year imprisonment.