Death penalty for rape, acid attack and child abuse in Shakti Criminal Law Bills given go-ahead: Maha Govt

The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday approved the draft Shakti Criminal Law Bills – Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law, 2020, and the Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020, which contains provisions of punishment, including the death penalty, for serious crimes such as rape, acid attack and child abuse.

“The draft Bills were discussed in the Cabinet today. It has given a go-ahead to table the Bills in the Winter Session of the legislature. After the approval of the legislature, the Bills will be sent to the Centre for its approval and then to the President,” said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said after the Cabinet meeting.


Last December, the Maharashtra government had announced that it is bringing a law on the lines of the Andhra Pradesh’s Disha Act with a provision of the death penalty for rape instead of the current punishment of 10 to 20 years in jail.

The draft Bills provide for completing investigation and trial within a stipulated time frame. Also, special police teams and separate courts will be set up for investigation and trial of cases against women and children, it stated.

The perpetrators, if found guilty, will be imprisoned for not less than 10 years. This may extend to the remainder of their natural lives or with death sentences in cases that have characteristics of being heinous in nature, the draft added.

Further, sum of Rs 10 lakh will be given to an acid attack victim for plastic surgery and facial reconstruction. The amount will be collected as fine from the convict.

The bills have also defined new categories of crime, including threatening and defaming through any channel of communication, that will attract up to two years’ jail or Rs 1 lakh fine, The Times of India reported. Mobile service providers who do not cooperate in inquiries will also face jail and penalty.

The government has also proposed amendments in the Criminal Procedure Code to ensure speedy investigation and trial. It has proposed to bring down the investigation period to 15 working days from two months and trial period to 30 working days from two months. The appeal period has been proposed to be reduced to 45 days from six months.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau report for 2019, Maharashtra has reported the third-highest number of crimes against women, only behind Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. It accounted for 9.2 percent of the total crimes against women registered across the country.