By Prof. Vivek Singh
In civilized society, there is no place for crime against women and children. A strong legal provision can only control crime, especially crimes against women and children. It is a bold decision by the Maharashtra government to introduce the ‘Shakti Bill’ in the Legislative Assembly on the first day of the winter session. Maharashtra government’s move is commendable. The ‘Shakti Bill’ should be adopted by other state governments as well.
A continuous increase in crime against women is being recorded. To deal with this, the Maharashtra government has introduced ‘Shakti Bill’ in the Assembly on the lines of Andhra Pradesh. Stringent laws will certainly reduce crime against women. After the bill is passed in both houses of Maharashtra, it will be sent to the central government for approval. These bills will take the form of law only after getting approval from the central government.
On 14 December 2020, 2 Bills were introduced in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The first of them was Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Amendment Act) 2020 and second is Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law 2020. In the first bill, a provision for strict punishment and fine has been made. The sections of IPC, CRPC, Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act have been amended. Whereas in the second bill, under the ‘Shakti Law’, it has been said that at least one special court should be established in each district of the state and the police team.
The Maharashtra government is sensitive to heinous crimes against women. On the first day of the winter session, the ‘Shakti Bill’ was introduced on the floor of the Assembly. The Shakti bill is very important because some special provisions have been made in them. Certainly, the Shakti law will create fear in the minds of criminals and there will be a huge reduction in cases against women.
Under the ‘Shakti Law’, there is a provision of death penalty in cases of heinous crimes like rape, gang rape etc. against women in Maharashtra. In case of rape of a girl up to the age of 16 years, there is a provision of death penalty of 10 years and Rs 10 lakh fine. Provision for at least 10 years of imprisonment and fine in case of acid attack. The bill provides compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the acid attack victim. Provision for punishment of up to 2 years and Rs. one lakh fine has also been made on objectionable content against children and women on social media.
The sections of CRPC have been amended. The period of investigation has been reduced from 2 months to 15 days. Now it will be mandatory for the police to file the charge sheet within 15 days. The time limit for completion of hearing has been reduced from 2 months to 30 days. Trial process will now have to be completed within 30 days. The period of appeal has also been reduced from 6 months to 45 days.
Some lawyers, social organizations, opposition parties, social activists are opposing the Shakti Bill, which is grossly unfair. The government must enact strict laws so that crimes against children and women can be reduced. Crime and criminals can be controlled only by stringent law. Meaningless opposition must stop. The government should enact the harshest law regardless of anyone.
(Author is a famous columnist and thinker, Political, Social and Economic Analyst. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])