Highlights of Disha Act,2019

Highlights of Disha Act,2019

Updated on 14 December, 2019

GS2 Governance
highlights-of-disha-act2019

Context-

  • The Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh unanimously passed two Bills, 
    • Andhra Pradesh Disha Act - AP Special Courts for Specified Offences against Women and Children Act 2019, and,
    • AP Disha Act - Criminal Law (AP Amendment) Act 2019.

Features of the act-

  1. Introducing women and children offenders registry.
  • The Andhra Pradesh government will establish, operate and maintain a register in electronic form, to be called the ‘Women & Children Offenders Registry’.
  • This registry will be made public and will be available to law enforcement agencies.
  1. Exclusive punishment of death penalty for rape crimes.
  • It has prescribed the death penalty for rape crimes where there is adequate conclusive evidence.
  • Provision is given by amending Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  1. Reducing the judgment period to 21 days.
  • The judgment will have to be pronounced in 21 working days from date of offence in cases of rape crimes with substantial conclusive evidence.
  • The investigation shall be completed within seven working days and trial shall be completed in 14 working days.
  1. Stringent punishment for sexual offences against children.
  • It prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children.
  1. Punishment for harassment of women through social media.
  • In cases of harassment of women through email, social media, digital mode or any other form, the guilty shall be punishable with imprisonment.
  • The imprisonment will be for a term which may extend to two years on first conviction with imprisonment for a term which may extend to four years on second and subsequent conviction.
  1. Establishment of exclusive special courts in every district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Establishment of exclusive special courts in every district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • These courts will exclusively deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism(the practice of gaining sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity), social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under the POCSO Act.
  1. Reducing appeal to 3 months for disposal of rape cases.
  • The period for disposal of appeal cases has been reduced 6 months to three months.
  1. Constitution of special police teams and appointment of the special public prosecutor in special courts
  • The government will constitute special police teams at the district level to be called District Special Police Team to be headed by DSP for investigation of offences related to women and children.
  • The government will also appoint a special public prosecutor for each exclusive special court.

Criticism by National Commission for Women(NCW)-

  • Three months’ time should be given for a concrete result as a period of 21 days given to the police to complete investigation and the courts to convict accused in rape cases is too less.
  • Government should not act in haste while dealing with a sensitive issue like rape.
  • Fast track courts constituted by States in the past did not give the desired results.
    • NCW gave the example of Madhya Pradesh’s “alarming rate of atrocities against women and very few or no convictions.”
  • The problem might become worse now since the department would have to complete the investigation within the stipulated time as  the police not filing FIRs in many cases was an issue of concern.
  • There is a shortage of judges and how the State (A.P.) can implement the new law effectively in the given scenario is to be seen.

Significance-

  • The real issue appears to be the time taken in the final disposal of cases of rape and murder therefore, this act will help to rectify the delay in judicial process.
  • It will help in reducing crime related to women and children.
  • The act will encourage union government as well as other states to enact such type of provisions in the existing law.

Source - The Hindu & Indian Express - 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/andhra-pradesh-assembly-passes-disha-bill-hyderabad-doctor-rape-murder-6165636/

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/assembly-unanimously-passes-ap-disha-act-2019/article30298434.ece https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/21-days-not-enough-for-probe-conviction-in-rape-cases-womens-panel-chief/article30314119.ece


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