Andhra Govt Passes 'AP Disha Act'; Mandates Disposal Of Crimes Against Women Within 21 Day

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The Jagan Mohan Reddy-led Andhra Pradesh Assembly passed the Disha Act, 2019, amid nation-wide outrage over the soaring number of crimes against women in India.

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Updated On:

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly passed the Disha Act, 2019, amid nation-wide outrage over the soaring number of crimes against women in the country. The new legislation mandates the disposal of cases of atrocities against women within 21 days. The legislation is an amendment to the AP Criminal Law.  As per the law, the investigation is expected to be completed in 7 working days and trial shall be completed in 14 working days.

The Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy-led government has prescribed exclusively the death penalty for rape crimes where adequate conclusive evidence is found. The fresh law, 'AP Disha Act' has been christened in the memory of the veterinary doctor, who was abducted, gang-raped, killed and burned recently on the outskirts of Hyderabad. 

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What is 'AP Disha Act'?

The existing judgment period as per the Nirbhaya Act, 2013 and Criminal Amendment Act, 2018 is 4 months. The law was enacted to deal with crimes against women and for speedy justice wherever there is conclusive evidence. Under the proposed AP Disha Act, the death penalty has been prescribed for rape. Here are the provisions made under the Disha Act:

  • The Andhra Pradesh government will constitute a Special Police team at District level to be called District Special Police Team to be headed by DSP for investigation of offenses related to Women & Children. It will also appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for each exclusive Special Court.
  • As per the law enacted by the Andhra Pradesh government to tackle crimes against women, the period for disposal of appeal cases has been reduced to 3 months. Apart from rape, the Reddy government has prescribed life imprisonment for other sexual offenses against children.
  • To ensure a speedy trial, the Andhra Pradesh government is establishing Exclusive Special Courts in each district. These courts will exclusively deal with cases of offenses against women and children including rape, gangrape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under the POCSO Act.
  • As a part of the Disha Act, the government of Andhra Pradesh will establish, operate and maintain a register in electronic form, to be called the ‘Women and Children Offenders Registry’. The registry will be made public and available to law enforcement agencies.
  • In cases of harassment of women through emails, 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 and with imprisonment for a term which may extend to four years on a second and subsequent conviction.

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"Investigation of cases of crime against women should be completed in one week and the culprits should be punished within three weeks,” CM Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy had said.  Jagan Mohan Reddy-led Andhra Pradesh cabinet gave its assent to the bill on Wednesday. This comes just days after the Andhra Pradesh CM had lauded the action of his Telangana counterpart and also the police. Jagan Reddy had said, "If a hero in a movie kills someone in an encounter, we all applaud. If a courageous person does that in real life, they will be questioned on human rights. Hats off to KCR and Telangana police officers." 

The cabinet, chaired by chief minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, also approved the draft ‘AP Special Court for Specified Offences Against Women and Children Act, 2019.’ Under this Act, special courts will be set up in each of the 13 districts to try cases of atrocities against women and children like rape, sexual harassment, acid attacks, and harassment through social media. While the Andhra Pradesh government has taken swift steps in the Assembly to pass the Disha Act, the Telangana government has not yet given an official statement over such a Bill.

Jagan Mohan Reddy succeeded TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu by winning 151 out of 175 seats in the state, YSRCP also won an overwhelming 50% of the vote-share, while TDP's tally drastically reduced from 102 in 2014 Assembly elections to mere 23 seats. 

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