Penalty for acid attack, death for rape in Maharashtra’s new draft Bills

Uddhav Thackeray’s cabinet approves two bills which will be table when the Assembly session begins on December 14

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The draft bills were approved by the Maharashtra Cabinet presided by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Photo: PTI

The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday (December 10) approved the introduction of two key bills, drafted to provide security to women and children with provisions for punishments including death penalty for rape, acid attack and child abuse.

The Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020 and the Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law, 2020 – which was approved by the state Cabinet presided by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will be tabled when the Assembly sessions begins on December 14, ANI reported.

“Today the Cabinet discussed the Shakti Act, and cleared the draft bill to amend sections of Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said referring to the Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020 formulated along the lines of Andhra Pradesh’ Disha Act Criminal Law (AP Amendment) Act, 2019.

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Deshmukh said the two drafts bills will be sent to the Centre for Presidential assent once the state legislature approves it.

Related news: Centre issues advisory to states, UTs on law against sexual assault on women

“This draft talks about death punishment for offenders of heinous crimes against women and children,” he said.

According to reports, the draft bills have provisions for formation of special police teams and trial courts for cases of abuse against women and children as well as would mandate the probe and trial to be wrapped up within a stipulated frame of time.

Under the proposed legislations, the accused, when found guilty, can face a jail term up to 10 years and the gallows if the crime is heinous in nature.

The proposed draft bills have provisions to provide ₹10 lakh to victims of acid attack for plastic surgery and facial reconstruction, which in turn will be collected from the convicted perpetrator.

Similarly, through amendments in the CrPC, the government proposes to finish the investigation within 15 days from an earlier time frame of two months and to bring down the trial period to 30 working days from two months. The bill proposes to contract the appeal period from six months to 45 days.

Related news: What gag orders on media in sexual abuse trials take away

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