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Maha Assembly passes Shakti bill with provisioning of death penalty and shorter timeline for investigation


On 24 December 2021, Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment Bill) was unanimously passed, and Maharashtra became the second state after Andhra Pradesh.

The Shakti bill has provisions of death penalty in heinous offences of rapes and gang rape against women and children. The bill was approved on Thursday I.e December 23, 2021, is sent for approval to the country’s President.

Key Highlights

• The Bill provisions death penalty for certain offences against women and children such as rape. 

• Provisioning of punishment in providing false information for minimum 3 years. 

• The Bill provisions for a shorter timeline for the investigation, disposal of appeal.

• The bill increases the term of imprisonment and fine for POCSO Act.

• Provisions of imprisonment and fine of Rs 25L, if investigation does not completes in 30 days.

The Maharashtra government was pushing the bill since 2019. This bill was the long due task of the current Maharashtra government as the state government notified in 2019 that they would bring a law with a provision of the death penalty who’s foundation would be the Disha Act of Andhra Pradesh.

The Bill stresses the completion of investigation of such cases within 30 days from the date of the incident. Another part of the bill provides the provision of imprisonment up to three months and a fine of Rs 25 lakh or both against the social media platform, internet or mobile telephony data providers in the negligence to share data of police investigation.

If someone files a false case or provides false information to any person, it will lead to imprisonment of not less than three years and a Rs 1 lakh fine along with up to three years of imprisonment.

In case of an acid attack, the convict will be imprisoned for at least 15 years that may extend to the convict’s natural life, along with a hefty fine to be paid to the victim. Also, the culprit will bear the expenditure of plastic surgery and face reconstruction operations of the victim.

Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, who tabled the Bill, said that the government does not believe it is foolproof. “We always believe there is scope for improvement. If need be, there will be amendments in future,” he said.

On the provision of the death penalty for rape, he said, “Not every guilty person will get the death penalty. The decision will depend on the gravity of the offence. If needed, 30 days may be given to complete the investigation.”

 Leader of Opposition in the Council Pravin Darekar said, “Forensic laboratories and cyber cells are facing a shortage of manpower, infrastructure and funding. The state government should make necessary provisions for them.”

“I welcome the provision of setting up special courts at the district level to investigate such crimes. But they should get adequate infrastructure, new judges and staff.”

Walse Patil said that the state government has already decided that internships will be offered to students who have completed cyber and forensic security courses. “This will address the shortage of staff in cyber security cells and forensic laboratories,” the minister said.

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