Sexual offence 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.

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.