The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra is mulling to introduce a bill similar to the Andhra Pradesh government's 'Disha Act'. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday, February 27, citing the Nirbhaya case said that there is an urgent need to change the law for women's safety in the state.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said that a bill similar to the 'Disha Act' will be tabled in the ongoing Budget session of the state Assembly. The Disha Act 2019, allows stringent punishment for crimes committed against women and enables the death penalty for rape and reduces the judgment period in such cases to 21 working days.
Speaking in the state Assembly, Thackeray said, "State home minister recently visited Andhra Pradesh to know about Disha Act. We have seen Delhi's Nirbhaya case pending for years....we need to change laws urgently."
Earlier, Maharashtra Home Minister had visited Andhra Pradesh to get information about the 'Disha' Act, which provides for harsher punishments for crimes against women.
महिलांवर होणारे अत्याचार रोखण्यासाठी राज्यात कठोर कायदा आणण्याबद्दल मुख्यमंत्री उद्धव बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांचे विधान: pic.twitter.com/Hg3rjP4dRl— Office of Uddhav Thackeray (@OfficeofUT) February 27, 2020
Replying to a question raised by Opposition over women's security, Deshmukh had said: "Last week, we visited Andhra Pradesh to study the Disha Act. A committee has been formed to constitute law on the lines of the Disha Act. We are in the process of studying it. The committee will submit a draft. We are trying to form the Act by the end of the session."
"Under this law, the conviction of the rape accused will be faster. If sufficient evidence is available against the accused, then the whole trial of the case will be completed in 21 days. This law will also have stringent punishment like the death penalty to the accused," he said.
NCP MP Supriya Sule, which is part of the Shiv-Sena led ruling coalition has welcomed the move and said providing security to women is the topmost priority of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government.
The Disha Act 2019, allowing stringent punishment for crimes committed against women, introduced by the Government of Andhra Pradesh has been evoking interest among the other states in the country. Delhi and Odisha have also expressed interest in Act earlier and have sought details from the Andhra Pradesh government.
The Andhra Pradesh Disha Act Criminal Law (AP Amendment) Act, 2019, was enacted as a tribute to the veterinary doctor brutally raped and murdered in neighbouring Telangana last year. Under this law, the completion of investigation in cases of sexual offences should be done within seven working days and the trial within 14 working days from the date of filing the charge sheet. The law, passed by the AP Legislature, is awaiting the assent of the Centre.