The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on Wednesday passed a Bill that seeks capital punishment in cases of sexual abuse against women. This is because of the recent case of gangrape and killing of a veterinary doctor in adjacent state Telangana.

The Bill also mandates that from the day of an FIR being registered, the full trial should not take more than three weeks. Once the state Assembly passes the Bill, Andhra Pradesh will be the first state in India to have death penalty for rape cases. The Bill, the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2019, will be declared the Andhra Pradesh Disha Act.

However, some in the legal fraternity hold that the state government’s judgment to complete the inquiry, proceedings and judgement in 21 days may be unachievable.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had pledged to bring in a law for fast trial in sexual assault cases. The new Bill is named Disha after the moniker that was given to the Hyderabad woman who was raped and murdered last month. Her body was burnt and the accused were killed in a police encounter.

Also Read: Chandigarh Court Acquits Rape Accused, As No Injuries On Survivor’s Body

AP govt. passes bill to seek capital punishment for rapists
Credits: The Hindu

On the lines of the amended Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2019, the Bill also adds the death penalty for sexual abuse of children.

Fast track courts for crimes against women

As per the stipulations of the Bill, the inquiry into crimes against women should be completed within a week. The case must be completed within two weeks in fast track courts. It aids punishment within three weeks if the accused are caught red-handed with a proof confirming their crime beyond any reasonable doubt.

First-time offenders could meet a two-year jail term, while repeat offenders could bring double the sentence, a report stated. It also specifies that special courts must be set up in each district to investigate crimes against women such as acid attacks, rape, gang rape and sexual harassment, among others. However, some in the legal fraternity hold that the state government’s judgment to complete the inquiry, proceedings and judgement in 21 days may be unachievable.

The new Bill is named Disha after the moniker that was given to the Hyderabad woman who was raped and murdered last month.

Cases on individuals who abuse women on social media

The state government has also determined to slap trials on those who slander women on different social media platforms. Advocate N Sravan said, “While passing the Nirbhaya Act, four sub-clauses under Section 354 of IPC were made. Making revisions to the IPC and entrance of the sub-section 354 (e) rests in the hands of the Centre. If the State government wants to punish those harassing women on social media platforms, the charges have to be recognised by the CrPC, and alteration has to be made in Parliament.”

Also Read: Rape Culture: A Complex Problem That Mere Death Penalty Can’t Solve

Image: The Hindu/Nagara Gopal

Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.