Home Minister Current Affairs - 2020

Eastern Zonal Council Meet to be held in Bhubaneswar

The Eastern Zonal Council meeting for the states of Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand is to be chaired by home Minister Amit Shah. The meeting is to discuss cases of rape against women, sexual offences, prevention of cattle smuggling in the India-Bangladesh Border, etc.

Highlights

The Home Minister will discuss with the Chief Ministers of all the 4 participating states. The minister will also review the status of the amendments of Code of Criminal Procedure. Under the amendment, the time limit of the completion of investigation of criminal cases were limited to two months. This was done through the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2018

Previous Councils

In the recent meetings of Western Zonal Council and Northern Zonal Council, the Home Minister directed the state police review pending cases as quickly as possible. The Council also instructed to update case details at Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences. It is an online portal that helps states to undertake real-time monitoring, managing and completion of cases, especially rape cases in 2 months.

Zonal Council

Zonal Councils are statutory bodies constituted under States Reorganization Act of 1956. According to the act, India is divided into 5 zones and a council has been set up for every zone. The zones include Northern, Eastern, Western, Southern and Central. In 1971, the North Eastern council was created.

Group of Ministers report on legal framework to prevent sexual harassment

On January 19, 2020, the Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister Amit Shah finalized its report to change the legal framework that will help prevent sexual harassment of women at work places.

Highlights

The Group of Ministers was constituted in October 2018 after the “Me Too” campaign. The group was reconstituted under the Home Minster in July 2019. Apart from this, the GoI is also working on a project to change the IPC (Indian Penal Code) that was introduced during British rule in 1860. The ministers have recommended to strengthen the laws.

Referrals of the report

The report is predominantly based on the following

  • Vishaka guidelines issued by Supreme Court in 1997. It is be noted that the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace, 2013 was constituted based on Vishaka guidelines
  • Justice J.S, Verma Committee recommendations. The committee was constituted in the awake of Nirbhaya Gang Rape and murder in 2012
  • Verma Committee-The Committee recommended employment tribunal instead of ICC.

Significance

According to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), in 2017 and 2018, the number of sexual harassments of women at work premises were 479 and 401 respectively. The cases were registered under IPC Section 509 and were highest in cities such as Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru and Mumbai.