Maharashtra Govts Shakti Bill Proposes Stringent Punishment For Crime Against Women, Children

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Maharashtra Govt's 'Shakti Bill' Proposes Stringent Punishment For Crime Against Women, Children

The Bill, which the state Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil tabled, also provides for a speedy trial of 30 days in such cases. It will now be placed before the Legislative Council.

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The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Thursday, December 23, unanimously passed the Shakti Criminal Laws (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill 2020 that gives stricter punishment, including the death penalty for crimes against women and children.

The Bill, which the state Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil tabled, also provides for a speedy trial of 30 days in such cases. It will now be placed before the Legislative Council, The New Indian Express reported.

The bill, modelled on the Disha Act of Andhra Pradesh, was first tabled in the Maharashtra legislature in the 2020 winter session, but the government had referred it to a joint committee for scrutiny.

The committee held 13 meetings and submitted a few recommendations, which were presented in the legislature on December 22.

Probe Within 30 Days

The legislation has recommended capital punishment for certain crimes against women and children and prescribes a period of 30 days to complete the probe from the day of lodging a complaint.

It places the onus on social media platforms and internet service providers to provide data, if needed, for investigation purposes.

The joint committee had recommended that probe in such cases be completed within a time limit of 30 days, and an extension of one more month can be given by senior police officials if there are valid reasons.

If the investigating officer demands data, it should be provided within a week. As per the recommendations, if the social media platforms or internet/mobile data providers fail to do so, they may attract up to three months of imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 25 lakh.

Walse-Patil said the bill also provides for one to three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh if a person lodges a false complaint of sexual assault.

The minister said that the committee also met police officials to know their perspective regarding the probe of such cases.

The bill proposes adding a new section, `354E', to the Indian Penal Code to deal with `outraging the modesty of women, men, and transgender persons through electronic or digital means'.

During the debate, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said while the bill has a provision for designated courts to deal with such offences, there is a need for exclusive courts for women to make this law more effective.

Also Read: Madhya Pradesh Passes Bill, Would Recover Property Damages From Protestors Here On

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