What is Disha Act, the new law of Andhra Pradesh?

The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly has recently passed the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019 (now, Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019). Disha is the name given to the veterinarian who was raped and murdered in Hyderabad on 27 November and sparked an outrage across country.

Recently, Delhi Commission of Women Chief Swati Maliwal has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding immediate implementation of Disha Bill in entire country.

Key features of AP Disha Act 2019

It envisages the completion of investigation in 7 days and trial in 14 working days, where there is adequate conclusive evidence, and reducing total judgment time to 21 days from existing 4 months. The Act also prescribes, death penalty for rape crimes where there is adequate conclusive evidence, and this provision is given by amending Section 376 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.

In cases of harassment of women through social/digital media, the Act states 2 years’ imprisonment for first conviction and 4 years for second as well as subsequent convictions. For this purpose, a new Section 354 E will be added in IPC, 1860.

It also prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children and for this purpose includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC.

The Andhra Pradesh government will now establish, operate and maintain a register in electronic form, to be called ‘Women & Children Offenders Registry’. This registry will be made public and will also be available to country’s law enforcement agencies.

The state government will also establish exclusive special courts in each district to ensure speedy trial. These courts will exclusively deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, sexual harassment, acid attackssocial media harassment of women, stalking, voyeurism  and all cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. Moreover, the government will also appoint a special public prosecutor for each exclusive special court.

The government will constitute special police teams at district level to be called District Special Police Team. It will be headed by DSP for investigation of offences related to women and children.




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