Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes Disha Bill to punish rapists in 21 days

The Bill drafted for women`s safety was earlier approved by the state cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, in the wake of horrific gang-rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Hyderabad. 

Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes Disha Bill to punish rapists in 21 days

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Friday (December 13) passed Disha Bill to punish perpetrators of heinous crimes against women and children within 21 days. The Bill drafted for women`s safety was earlier approved by the state cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, in the wake of horrific gang-rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Hyderabad. 

The police had named the victim as Disha to protect her identity. Jagan Mohan Reddy had earlier announced in the Assembly that the government legislation will make sure that in cases where there is conclusive evidence, the convicts be punished in 21 days. 

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Details of Andhra Pradesh Disha Act 2019 are: 

1. Andhra Pradesh has prescribed exclusively death penalty for rape crimes where adequate conclusive evidence is there. No other
options provided. Provision given by amending Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860

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

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

4. Apart from rape, the government of Andhra Pradesh also prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children.

5. In case of sexual assault on children, where adequate conclusive evidence is there, total Judgement period has been reduced to 21 working days from date of offence.

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

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

8. 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. A new Section 354E ‘Harassment of Women’ is being added in Indian Penal Code, 1860.

9. To ensure speedy trial, the state 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.

10. The state government is introducing ‘Andhra Pradesh Special Courts for Specified Offences against Women & Children Act, 2019’ for this.

11. The Disha Act has also reduced period for disposal of appeal cases to 3 months. 

12. The state government will constitute a Special Police teams at district level to be called District Special Police Team to be headed by DSP for investigation of offences related to women and children.

13. The state government will also appoint Special Public Prosecutor for each exclusive Special Court.

14. The state government is introducing ‘Andhra Pradesh Special Courts for Specified offences against Women & Children Act, 2019’ for adding these provisions.

15. Government of Andhra Pradesh will establish, operate and maintain a register in electronic form, to be called the ‘Women & Children Offenders Registry’. This will be made public and will be available to law enforcement agencies.

16. The state government is introducing ‘Andhra Pradesh Special Courts for Specified Offences against Women & Children Act, 2019’