Two women officers have been appointed in Andhra Pradesh to implement the Disha Act, which enables speedy investigation and trial within 21 days, and includes stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those accused of crimes against women.
The Andhra Pradesh government has appointed Dr Kritika Shukla, IAS, and IPS officer M Deepika as Disha Special officers. The new designations come in addition to their existing posts of the Director of Women Development and Child Welfare and Additional Director General of Police, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) respectively.
The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on December 13, 2019, had passed two Bills to further amend the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure that will enable expeditious investigation and trial of offences against women and children, especially sexual offences, and award of death penalty.
The law has been named the 'Andhra Pradesh Disha Act Criminal Law (AP Amendment) Act, 2019, as a tribute to the veterinary doctor gang-raped and murdered recently in neighbouring Telangana. Disha (name changed) was brutally raped and killed in the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 26 last year. Four suspects in the case were arrested on November 28 and killed in an alleged encounter by the Telangana police on December 6.
The new law in Andhra Pradesh mandates completion of the investigation into cases of sexual offences within seven working days from the time of record and the trial within 14 working days from the date of filing the charge sheet. The appeal against the sentence passed under the new law has to be disposed of within six months.
The Assembly also passed another Bill that provides for constitution of exclusive special courts for speedy trial of specified offences against women and children. The proposed new legislation will enable setting up of one or more exclusive special courts in each district for expeditious trial of specified offences against women and children.