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Opinion

AP government withdraws law for speedy trial in rape and murder cases after Center objections

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Almost a year after enacting legislation to speed up trial and sentencing in rape and murder cases within 21 days, the Andhra Pradesh government withdrew the law on Wednesday following consultations raised by the Center.

State Interior Minister Mekathoti Sucharita introduced a bill in the assembly on Wednesday that seeks to withdraw the bill Andhra Pradesh Disha – Andhra Pradesh Special Courts for Specific Crimes Against Women and Children, 2019. It is named after a Hyderabad-based vet who was raped and murdered by four young men on November 28 of last year and given the pseudonym Disha.

The legislation, which was approved by the state assembly on December 13 of last year, sought to complete the investigation of the alleged cases of rape and murder, carry out the trial in special courts and issue sentences to the accused within a period 21 days.

The legislation was subsequently sent to the Presidential Consent Center as it required certain amendments to the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure of India. The Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, wrote several times to the Center and even addressed it personally with the Union Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visits to New Delhi.

An Andhra Pradesh Interior Ministry official familiar with the development said that the Interior Ministry and the Union Ministry of Justice, which examined the state legislation, raised certain objections as it required many amendments to the IPC and CrPC.

“The Disha Law suggested changes to certain sections of the IPC and the CrPC with a view to making them applicable only in Andhra Pradesh. The Union Law Ministry objected to it, saying that it might not be possible to accept it in its current form as changes cannot be made just for a particular state. If you have to modify the CPI and the CrPC, you have to do it for the whole country, “said the official.

As a result, the state government withdrew the bill. “New legislation would be introduced in the assembly after incorporating the suggestions made by the Center,” said the official.

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