Proposed law for tougher punishment, including death sentence, within 21 days for those guilty of crimes against women was cleared by the Andhra Pradesh assembly on Friday.
On November 27, the whole country was shaken with the brutal details of how a 27-year-old veterinary doctor, Disha (name changed) was sexually assaulted, killed and burnt mercilessly. This horrific incident gave a chilling reminder of the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case when a 23-year-old, physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh was beaten, gang-raped, and tortured in a private bus by 6 men.
While many were mourning the death of Disha, another daughter from Unnao was burnt down by her rapist when she was going to court for her case hearing. In the wake of these horrific incidents, many people took to streets to protest and share their anger on how delayed justice in rape cases is failing the women in India.
But, Andhra Pradesh Cabinet has committed themselves in providing speedy justice to the rape victims and hence, the cabinet has approved two bills – Disha Bill & Special Court for Specified Offences against Women & Children Bill.
I. Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill
According to sources, the cabinet approved the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019 or ‘Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill’ which reduces the timeline for judgments in cases of conclusive evidence from 4 months to 3 weeks. The law “Disha Act” is dubbed after the name given to the 27-year-old veterinary doctor.
As per NDTV, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy shared,
“The investigation should be completed within a week and trial should be over within two weeks. Within 21 working days, the perpetrators should be hanged.”
II. Andhra Pradesh Special Court for Specified Offences against Women and Children Bill
Another bill approved by the cabinet is Andhra Pradesh Special Court for Specified Offences against Women and Children Bill. This bill allows setting up of fast-track courts for cases of sexual offenses against women and children.
It also proposes 2-4 years imprisonment for social media harassment cases and 14 years-lifetime jail term for sexual crimes against children. Earlier, these were tried under the IT Act and PoCSO respectively.
At IFORHER, we applaud how Andhra Pradesh Cabinet quickly came into action and announced these two much-needed bills. These will help ensure no rape victim has to wait till eternity to see her accused behind the bars. We hope other states would also soon announce similar bills that would help the rape victims in swift justice.