Topics Covered: Government policies and their working.
What to study?
For Prelims: what are they?
For Mains: Significance and the need for the law, issues surrounding death sentence.
Context: The Andhra Pradesh state government is preparing to implement the Disha Bill once it gets the nod of the President. As per the law, the state has to equip itself with facilities like forensic laboratories, special courts, and public prosecutors.
Last year, the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly had passed the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019 (Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019).
Key features of the Bill:
- It envisages the completion of investigation in seven days and trial in 14 working days,where there is adequate conclusive evidence, and reducing the total judgment time to 21 days from the existing four months.
- It prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children and includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC.
- In cases of harassment of women through social or digital media, the Act states two years imprisonment for the first conviction and four years for second and subsequent convictions.For this, a new Section 354 E will be added in IPC, 1860.
- As per the Bill, the Andhra Pradesh government will establish, operate and maintain a register in electronic form, to be called the ‘Women & Children Offenders Registry’.This registry will be made public and will be available to law enforcement agencies.
- The government will establish exclusive special courts in each district to ensure speedy trial.These courts will exclusively deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under the POCSO Act.
- The government will constitute special police teams at the district level to be called District Special Police Team to be headed by DSP for investigation of offences related to women and children.
- The government will also appoint a special public prosecutor for each exclusive special court.
Need for special law:
Crimes against women constitute murder, rape, dowry death, suicide abetment, acid attack, cruelty against women and kidnapping.
‘Cruelty by husband or his relatives’ accounts for 27.9 per cent of the crimes against women.
A total of 3,59,849 cases were reported against women in 2017. (2016, 3.38 lakh, 3.2 lakh cases 2015) The number of cases reported has increased.
- Uttar Pradesh has again topped the list with 56,011 cases of crime against women, followed by Maharashtra with 31,979 cases and West Bengal at 30,002.
‘Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty’ comprise 21.7 per cent, followed by ‘kidnapping and abduction of women’ with 20.5 per cent and ‘rape’ with 7.0 per cent of reported cases.
Sources: the Hindu.