Uttar Pradesh court sentences man to life imprisonment for raping 6-year-old girl

MUMBAI: The joint select committee of the Maharashtra legislature looking into the Shakti Act draft bill will hold open discussions with organisations representing women and lawyers in different parts of the state, said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday.

Deshmukh, who heads the committee, told reporters here that meetings with these organisations, to seek their feedback and suggestions on the bill, will be held in Nagpur (January 11), Mumbai (January 19) and Aurangabad (January 29).

The bill proposes crucial changes to existing laws on violence against women and children. It provides for strict punishments, including the death penalty and fine up to Rs 10 lakh, for crimes such as rape, acid attack, and derogatory material on social media against women and children.

Last month, the state government referred the bill, which also seeks to fast-track investigation and filing of chargesheet, to a joint committee of both houses of the state legislature. Deshmukh said invitees to the meetings have been asked to bring their suggestions to the proposed legislation in writing.

He said that panel members will meet women invitees at 3 pm and lawyers at 5 pm. The home minister said the draft bill was available at the government printing press in Mumbai and ordinary citizens can also send their suggestions through email by January 15.

The Maharashtra Shakti criminal law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2020, and the Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law, 2020, were cleared by the cabinet and the draft bill was sent to the committee during the winter session of the legislature.