The Andhra Pradesh government has asked the center why the state can not name a legislation after Disha, a victim of gang rape and murder in Hyderabad, while the latter can name a similar legislation after Nirbhaya, another victim of gang rape and murder in New Delhi.
Recently, the state government sent its comments on the objections raised by the Center many months ago against the proposed ‘Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill – Criminal Law (AP Amendment) Bill, 2019’ which the state legislature approved in December 2019.
The Union Ministry of the Interior last year asked the state for clarification on the comments made by the MHA’s Women’s Security Division on the bill.
The State Government argued that the Criminal Procedure Act was part of the Simultaneous List and as such had the right to make the necessary amendments.
“Kerala and other state governments have done this,” AP pointed out. “We sent our explanations to the center 20 days ago,” Deputy Inspector General of Police G Pala Raju said on Thursday evening on behalf of Home Secretary T Vanitha at a press conference here.
The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on 13 December 2019 approved the so-called “Disha Bill” which aims to further amend the Indian Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code which will enable speedy investigation and trial of offenses against women and children, especially sexual offenses , and the sentence of the death penalty.
At the same time, the state also approved the AP Disha (Special Courts for Specified Offenses against Women and Children) Bill, 2019.
The state governor referred the bills to the Center for presidential approval in January 2020.
Following objections raised by the Center, the state withdrew the AP Disha (Special Courts for Specified Offenses against Women and Children) bill and approved a similar bill with amendments in December 2020.
The center has again raised objections to certain provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill – Criminal Law (AP Amendment), 2019.
“The Center objected to the provision for geo-tagging of sexual offenders. It also objected to giving a specific name to the proposed legislation,” Pala Raju replied when asked about the Center’s objections.
He said the center also objected to the use of certain words in the bill. “We sent the revised bill to the center 20 days ago,” he said.
Home Affairs Minister Vanitha said the intention of the proposed Disha Act was to ensure speedy justice in cases of sexual offenses against women and girls.
“The new law is only meant to impose faster penalties on the perpetrators so that it serves as a deterrent to others,” Vanitha noted.
Director-General of Police KV Rajendranath Reddy, who was also present at the press conference, said although the new law has yet to come into force, they are working with the spirit of it to ensure speedy justice.
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