Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly has passed two Disha Bills which enable the death penalty for rape besides taking stringent action for crimes on women by setting up of special courts to deal with such offences.

The Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill- Criminal Law (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Bill 2019 amending the Penal Code, says that all cases regarding offences against women shall be investigated and tried expeditiously with provisions of the death penalty.

The Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill-Andhra Pradesh Special Court for Specified Offences against Women and Children Bill, 2019 will enable the State government to set up exclusive special courts for speedy trial of specified offences against women and children.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said in his concluding remarks here on Friday said, as the Disha Bill is in the concurrent list of State and Centre, it will go for Presidential Accord which will attract the national attention through debates and discussions. The two Bills will stand as an answer to the system which needs to expedite cases where there is conclusive evidence.

The Nirbhaya Case is an example, where the culprits could not be punished yet and as family members of the victims seek fast and fair justice and the public response and acclaim the recent Disha case has received were considered before drafting the Bills, he said.

The New Bill prescribes the death penalty for rape crimes where there is conclusive evidence, and this needs the amendment of Section 376 of IPC. This apart the Bill reduces the judgement period to 21 working days with the investigation being completed in seven days and trail closing in 14 days.

The AP Disha Bill prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children and includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC.

In cases of harassment of women through social or digital media, the Bill states two years imprisonment for the first conviction and four years for second and subsequent convictions. For this, a new Section 354 E will be added in IPC, 1860.

To ensure a speedy trial, the State will set up exclusive special courts in all the 13 districts to deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under POCSO Act. The State will also employ special Public Prosecutors and Special Police force dedicated for such crimes only.

A Women and Children Offenders Registry will be maintained and will be on the public domain and available to law enforcement agencies.

Earlier, piloting the Bills Home Minister Mekathoti Sucharitha said, that there is imperative need to amend laws to bring speedy justice for all offences against women and children and the recent Disha case on the outskirts of Hyderabad has shaken the conscience of the nation.

Deputy Chief Minister Pushpa Srivani, T Anitha, Reddy Shanti, N Dhanalakshmi, V Sridevi, V Rajini, KV Ushasri Charan, Adireddy Bhavani were among those who spoke in support of the Bill.

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