The Maharashtra state cabinet on Wednesday, 9 December, approved a draft for a bill that seeks to introduce death penalty, as well as life sentence and steep fines for crimes perpetrated against women and children, PTI reported.
The bill was introduced in Mumbai and is set to be tabled in the state legislature during the winter session, which is likely to on 14 December, Home Minster Anil Desmukh reportedly said after the cabinet meeting.
It seeks to amend the sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to be implemented as law in the state.
Deshmukh also reportedly said that the law would be called “Shakti Act” and added that it provides for completing a probe in a case and its trial within a stipulated time of 15 and 30 days, respectively.
Special police squads and separate courts will be set up for investigating and deliberating on cases against women and children, according to the draft bill.
After getting the nod from both houses of the legislature, the bill will be sent for the Centre’s approval and the presidential assent, Deshmukh said.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) gave a statement saying that the bill will be introduced in the legislature in two parts, the Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020, and the Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law, 2020.
The bill reportedly says that if found guilty, the perpetrator will be punished with imprisonment for not less than ten years and may even be imprisoned for life or sentenced to death, depending on the nature of the crime.
Under the proposed bill, a sum of ₹ 10 lakh will be given to the victims of acid attacks and the amount will be collected from the convict as a fine.
Reportedly, the time for appeal has been brought down from the existing six months to 45 days.
PTI reported that the Shakti Act includes instances of threatening and intimidating women on social media, making false complaints of rape, molestation, acid attacks, non-cooperation in investigation, disclosure of victims’ identities in case of molestation and acid attacks as crimes.
(with inputs from NDTV and PTI)