Death Penalty Current Affairs - 2020

Nirbhaya Case Convicts Hanged to Death in Tihar Jail

On March 20, 2020, four convicts of the Nirbhaya Gang Rape were hanged to death in Tihar Jail.

Highlights

In September 2013, a fast track court convicted them with death sentence. Several curative and mercy petitions were filed by them at the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court. In 2017, the Supreme Court upheld death penalty. Recently, in 2020, the Supreme Court refused to take in the petitions.

Article 145

Article 145 of the constitution allows the Supreme Court to frame its own rules. Under the Article, the SC rules its own proceedings, cases handled by the it, transferred to high courts, etc. It has powers to stay proceedings, grant bail, allocate number of judges to sit in a bench, etc.

With this power, the apex court refused to consider the petitions of the accused.

Criminal Law (Amendment) act, 2013

The act was also called Nirbhaya Act. The act made several changes to the punishments of rape and sexual harassment accused. Also, the other laws such as Indian Penal code, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Evidence Act were all amended.

J S Verma Committee

Six days after the Nirbhaya incident GoI constituted a judicial Committee under J S Verma. The judicial changes were made according to the recommendations of the committee.

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Andhra Pradesh Cabinet clears Disha Bill

The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on December 11, 2019 cleared the Disha Bill that proposed harsh punishment for crimes against women. Disha bill is also known as the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) bill.

Key Features

The act provides harsh punishments to those who did heinous crimes against women. The decision was taken to protect women and children in the state.  The cabinet also approved establishment of special courts for offences against women and children under Women and Children Act, 2019. The courts will also deal with cases under POCSO (Protection of Children against Sexual Offence) act.

The act specifies that judgement for every case registered should be pronounced with in 21 days. Special attention should be given to cases such as rape, acid attacks.

Punishment

Under the act, those found guilty under the act will be tried under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. However, the punishment has been increased. Accused with proven charges of sexual attack on children will be imprisoned for 10 to 14 years.

The act also includes strict actions against persons uploading degrading posts against women on social media. In this case, the first-time offenders will be punished with 2 years of jail term and the second term offenders will be punished with four years of jail term.

The act proposes death sentence for heinous crimes against women.

Background of the act

The act was drafted to hasten the trial process of crimes against women and children. Currently the time period to solve these cases in the state is 4 months. The act reduces it to 21 days. The act has also increased the punishment to 10 years of jail that was previously 3 to 5 years in case of sexual abuse against children.

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