The Maharashtra government’s draft Bill proposed crucial changes to existing laws on violence against women and children will come up for discussion in both the Houses of the state legislature on Tuesday.
The Bill, to be enacted as Shakti Act, 2020, is modelled on the lines of the Andhra Pradesh’s DISHA Act, 2019, and proposes death penalty for rape, gangrape, acid attack and aggravated sexual assault of minors and fines up to Rs 10 lakh for those found guilty of sexual violence, faster investigation and quicker disposal of cases.
On Monday, the first day of the winter session of the state legislature, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh introduced the Bill in the Assembly. With the session ending on Tuesday itself, the legislature will get only a few hours to discuss it.
Contending that the Bill has suggested several important changes, BJP’s Sudhir Mungantiwar on Monday sought detailed discussion on it. Incidentally, several women outfits have called some of the provisions of the law draconian, including one that mandates filing of the chargesheet within 15 days, which can be extended by another seven days.
With discussion and approval to the supplementary grants also slotted for Tuesday, Opposition legislators are wary that the government will pass the Bill without much discussion. Citing the paucity of time, Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Devendra Fadnavis has meanwhile sought the referring the legislation to a Joint Select Committee of the legislature.
On Monday, the government laid 10 legislations and six ordinances for the consideration of the House. The legislations include the one for the postponement of revision of capital value for computation of property tax in Mumbai by one year, appointment of administration of local bodies where elections have been deferred due to the pandemic, setting up of sports universities in the state, postponement of elections in cooperative societies and relaxations in deadlines for application for setting up new colleges and courses in higher and technical education due to Covid-19 restrictions, among others.
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