State to enact Disha Act on priority, says home minister

i Maharashtra will soon enact the Disha Act that will mandate the disposal of cases of violence against women within 21 days and ensure the most stringent punishment to the guilty, state home minister Anil Deshmukh said on Friday.

“To curb violence against women, a team of five officers has been appointed to submit a report within one week. Once this report is submitted to me, it will be presented before the cabinet, and then in the legislative Assembly. The law will be enacted in Maharashtra on priority,” Deshmukh said.

Deshmukh’s statement comes a day after he visited Andhra Pradesh to understand the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2019, which has been symbolically named the Disha Act, after the gang rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in the neighbouring state of Telangana.

The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh brought the law with an aim to expedite cases of sexual offences against women, by making provisions to pass the verdict in such cases within 21 days. The law also has provision of death penalty for offences of rape. It was cleared by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly in December last year.

The announcement to enact a similar law in Maharashtra was first made by the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government around the same time. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had issued directives to the law and order department to study the Disha Act and submit a report on how a similar law can be implemented in Maharashtra.

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