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Current Affairs

Maharashtra’s Shakti act

Date: 30 December 2021 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

The Shakti Criminal Laws (Maharashtra Amendment) Act has been passed by the Maharashtra assembly.

 

Background

Maharashtra will become second state in the country to provide death penalty for convicts of heinous crimes such as rape.

 

Details

The changes have been made under Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and also Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

 

New changes

  • In cases of rape and gang rape, the act has been amended to include death penalty as punishment.

  • It will however apply to case in which offence is heinous in nature and where adequate conclusive evidence is there to warrant exemplary punishment, with death.

  • Fines and punishment for offences of sexual violence against women and minors have been enhanced under the updated act.

  • Penetrative sexual assault in heinous cases under the POCSO Act has also been enhanced to death penalty.

 

Other crimes

  • For acid attack, the minimum of 15 years has been prescribed which can be extended to the remainder of the natural life.

  • Intimidation of women by any mode of communication is included under separate provisions of sexual harassment.

  • The provision also includes threat to upload or disseminate any sound or video file including a real or fabricated depiction.

 

Procedure

  • Trial of the cases has to be conducted on a day to day basis so that case has been completed within 30 working days from the date of filing of the charge sheet.

  • Investigation has to be completed within a month of the FIR and can be extended by another month by Special Inspector General of Police by giving reasons in writing.

 

Requirements

  • It has been made mandatory for social media platforms, mobile data companies to share information sought for the purposes of investigation in cases of rape, sexual harassment, acid attacks.

  • Individuals making false complaint or providing false information can be imprisoned for 1-3 years and fined up to Rs 1 lakh.

  • Granting bail in cases of acid attacks, rape and gangrape can be decided only by sessions court and higher courts. No anticipatory bail will be allowed.

 

Criticism

Some lawyers have termed the law ‘draconian’ and say that it could be used to settle political scores. There is also a need for rethink over death penalty.