The Union government has initiated measures for amending the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Evidence Act, Home Minister Amit Shah said in his closing remarks at the 29th Southern Zonal Council meeting. Amit Shah invited the states to submit their inputs for the amendments. He asked the states to give top priority to address the menace of drugs and check their spread. Drug usage destroys the lives and potential of our youth, he said.
The Union Home Minister also wanted the states to have zero tolerance to child sexual abuse cases as crimes against children were 'unacceptableâ€™. â€śCases under the POCSO Act should be given top priority. There should be zero tolerance in such cases. The time frame of completing the investigation in 60 days should be strictly adhered to,â€ť Shah said.
He asked the states to create an independent institution of the Director of Prosecutions to expedite prosecution (in criminal cases). Noting that a National Forensic Science University and Rashtriya Raksha University have been established, the Home Minister wanted the states to set up at least one forensic science college with syllabus in local language to train manpower to meet the requirements of scientific investigation.
He said the Zonal Councils provided an opportunity for interaction at the highest level among members for resolution of contentious issues. Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Puducherry â€” YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Basavaraj Bommai and N Rangasamy respectively, attended the meeting while those of Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala skipped it. Telangana Home Minister Mahmood Ali, Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal and Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudi represented their states.
Telangana Governor and Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Admiral DK Joshi, Administrator of Lakshadweep Islands Praful Khoda Patel also attended.
Amit Shah said the Zonal Councils were able to resolve many contentious issues among states despite being only advisory in nature. "In the context of today's meeting, 40 out of 51 pending issues were resolved," Shah said in a tweet late in the night.