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Andhra govt passes 'Disha Bill' to provide speedy trials, stricter punishment for sexual offences
Posted on 13th December 2019
In a historic move, the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly on Friday passed "AP Disha Act 2019" to protect women and children in sexual offences cases by providing speedy investigation and justice to victims.

Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy said the Nirbhaya case and the recent Disha case have compelled the need for "AP Disha Act" which has many salient features.

Also known as the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019, the bill provides for expediting the verdict in trials on rape and gang rape cases and also awarding death penalty within 21 days.

The development comes in the wake of the horrific incident in Telangana where a woman veterinarian was gang-raped and killed by four people before they burnt her body on November 27. Her charred body was recovered a day later.

According to a statement, the state government has prescribed exclusive death penalty for rapes where adequate conclusive evidence is present. The provision will be provided by amending Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Some of the significant points of the Act are:

In cases of rape crimes with substantial conclusive evidence, the total judgement period has been reduced to 21 working days from date of offence.

The investigation shall be completed in 7 working days and trial shall be completed in 14 working days.

Apart from rape, Government of Andhra Pradesh prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children.

In cases of harassment of women through mail, social media, digital mode or any other form, the guilty shall be punishable with imprisonment.

The imprisonment will be for a term which may extend to two years on first conviction and with imprisonment for a term which may extend to four years on second and subsequent conviction.

To ensure a speedy trial, Government is establishing Exclusive Special Courts in each district.

These courts will exclusively deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, gangrape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under POCSO Act.

Period for disposal of appeal cases has been reduced to 3 months.

The State Govt. will constitute a Special Police team at District level to be called District Special Police Team to be headed by DSP for investigation of offences related to Women & Children.

Govt. will also appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for each exclusive Special Court.

Government of Andhra Pradesh 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.

After the act was passed, women MLAs of YSRC tied rakhi to the CM.

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