The Andhra Pradesh Disha Act
- The Central Government has informed the Lok Sabha that on the Andhra Pradesh Disha Act 2020, an inter-ministerial consultation has been initiated.
- The bill deals with the special court designated for crimes against women and children for rape and gang rape and, this will pave the way for the death penalty to the offender.
Salient features of the Bill:
- The Bill envisages completion of investigation within seven days and hearing in 14 working days in cases where sufficient conclusive evidence is available, also, the total time set for the decision has been reduced from the current four months to 21 days.
- It provides for life imprisonment for sexual offenses against children, and sections 354F and 354G have been added to the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
- In cases of harassment of women through social or digital media, the convict has been provided with two years of imprisonment on the first offense and four years of imprisonment for the next such offenses. To this, a new section 354E will be added to the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- According to the Bill, the Government of Andhra Pradesh will create an electronic register in the name of ‘Women and Child Offenders Registry’. This registry will be made public and available to law enforcement agencies.
- The government will set up special courts in each district to ensure speedy trial in these cases. These courts will deal with cases of crimes, especially against women and children, including rape, acid attacks, stalking, violence, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) Act.
- A special police team will be constituted at the district level to investigate crimes related to women and children by the government, which will be headed by a DSP rank officer.
- The government will also appoint a special public prosecutor for each special court.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act:
- The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted on 14 November 2012 to provide protection to children from sexual offenses, sexual harassment and pornography and taking care of the interests and safety of children.
- Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, abbreviated as POCSO.
- In this Act, ‘child’ is defined as a person under 18 years of age andIt respects the best interests and welfare of the child, giving more importance to every stage, to ensure the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child.
- The Act is gender neutral, that is, it recognizes that the perpetrators and victims may be men, women or persons of third gender.
Source – The Hindu