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Why women’s rights activists’ criticised Maharashtra’s proposed laws against sexual offences?

Topics Covered: Women related issues.

Why women’s rights activists’ criticised Maharashtra’s proposed laws against sexual offences?


Context:

The Maharashtra Shakti Bill, 2020, and the Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law, 2020 have been criticised by prominent women’s rights advocates for being “draconian” and “anti-women”.

  • The activists have said that the two Bills (framed on the lines of The Andhra Pradesh Disha Act, 2019) should have been discussed with lawyers, activists, and academics working on women’s issues before they were passed by the state Cabinet.

What are the concerns?

  • An amendment has been proposed to Section 375 (rape) of the IPC, to add an “explanation” that says that in cases where parties are adults and their conduct suggest there was “consent or implied consent”, a presumption of consent will be made. This, the activists say, “feeds into the patriarchal construct of consent and conduct of women”.
  • Section 12 of The Special Courts and Machinery for the Implementation of Shakti Act, 2020, will punish the filing of false complaints. This, according to the signatories, “perpetuates the patriarchal notions of viewing women with suspicion, as unworthy of being believed” — and will deter victims from reporting sexual offences.
  • Besides, the 15 days’ time-frame will not be sufficient for gathering all evidence and will become an excuse for police to not conduct a proper investigation. A hurried investigation and trial, they said, is likely to lead to miscarriage of justice.
  • Also, the death penalty in the new law reduces both the reporting of sexual offences and of conviction rates.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link and Mains Link:

  • Since these are state-specific legislations, just have a brief overview of these Bills, key Provisions and concerns.

Sources: Indian Express.