Updated: December 23, 2021 8:48:03 am
Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil on Wednesday presented before the Legislative Assembly the recommendations of the joint select committee studying the Shakti Bill, proposing punishment for men, women and transgenders in case the modesty of a woman is insulted and she is intimidated by any mode of communication. Other proposed amendments included increasing the period of investigation from 15 days to 30 days.
Walse-Patil, while tabling the report, said that the joint select committee held 13 meetings on the Bill and finalised the proposed amendments in meetings held earlier this month.
The Bill, which aims to curb crime against women and children, was tabled in the Winter Session of the House in 2020. It was then referred to the joint select committee of the legislature tasked with submitting a report after holding consultations with women and lawyer organisations as well as other stakeholders.
The committee has proposed punishment for men, women and transgenders if a woman’s modesty is insulted and she is intimidated by any mode of communication. Earlier, only men could be punished.
It has also proposed increasing the period of investigation to 30 days from the existing 15 days. If the probe is not completed in time, an extension of 30 days — earlier it was 7 days — can be given.
Further, the committee has proposed increasing punishment against social media platforms, Internet and mobile telephony data providers for failure to share the data for police investigation. Earlier, the provision of punishment in this regard was simple imprisonment up to one month or a fine of Rs 5 lakh or both. Now, the committee has increased the imprisonment up to three months and imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh or both.
For filing false cases or providing false information to any person, the committee has proposed imprisonment not less than three years and up to three years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Earlier, the provision was simple imprisonment up to one year and a fine, which was not specified.
Walse-Patil said that the original Bill did not have a provision for filing anticipatory bail plea in case of false complaints or if a person is harassed deliberately. “The committee has decided to drop the recommendation,” he added. Now, one would be able o file for pre-arrest bail pleas in such cases.
In December 2019, the Maharashtra government had announced that it will bring a law on the lines of Andhra Pradesh’s Disha Act, which has a provision of the death penalty for rape. Under the Shakti Bill, the government has proposed the death penalty in serious offences of rape, acid attack and child abuse and the period of punishment has also been extended. Penalty has been proposed in acid attack cases and the amount would be given to the victim for treatment and plastic surgery.