In the last decade, our country saw countless cases of sexual abuse against women. Almost every day, newspapers carried reports of women who became victims of gang-rape and murder. While the authorities are still striving towards making India a safe place for women, the Andhra Pradesh government is leading the change with the Disha Act, which has now been renamed to 'Andhra Pradesh Disha Act Criminal Law (AP Amendment) Act, 2019'.
The law came into force effect after the news of Hyderabad's veterinarian, Dr Priyanka Reddy's gang-rape and murder shook the whole nation to its core. The 26-year-old is now referred to as 'Disha'.
The Andhra Pradesh government has now appointed two women as Special Officers incharge of the AP Amendment Act, 2019. IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer Dr. Kritika Shukla and IPS officer (Indian Police Service) M. Deepika will now be implementing the Act. Here's what the new Act mandates:
1. Completion of investigation within seven working days from the time of record
2. Trial within 14 working days from the date of filing the charge sheet
3. Stringent punishment, including the death penalty, for those accused
4. The appeal against the sentence passed to be disposed of within six months
The Act also prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children. Furthermore, in cases of harassment of women through social media, it states two years imprisonment for the first conviction and four years for second and subsequent convictions.
Apart from this, the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly had passed one more bill on December 13, 2019, to further amend the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. This will enable setting up of one or more exclusive special courts in all the 13 districts of the state for a speedy trial of specified offences against women and children. These include rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women and sexual harassment.
In addition to this new designation, Dr. Kritika is also the Director of Women Development and Child Welfare. Deepika, on the other hand, is Additional Superintendent of Police (Administration) of Kurnool and has been transferred and posted as Disha Special Officer alongside the former.
More power to these powerful women.
Featured Image: Amar Ujala
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