Did Maharashtra cabinet approve the much anticipated ‘Shakti Bill’ i.e. death penalty for rapist?

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A post is doing rounds on various social media platforms with a caption that reads –

“महिलाओं के प्रति बढ़ रहे अपराध पर लगातार कड़े कानूनों की मांग होती रही है आज हमारे देश के राज्य महाराष्ट्र में एक कड़ा कानून पास किया गया है। जिससे रेप पर मिलेगी मौत की सजा, कैबिनेट ने दी Shakti Act को मंजूरी ! क्या आप इस फैसले से खुश हैं ?”

Translation –

“There has been a demand for strict laws concerning crime against women, today a stringent law has been passed in the state of Maharashtra in our country. Due to which death penalty will be meted out for rape, the cabinet approved the Shakti Act! Are you happy with this decision?”

Claim:

The post has caused quite a stir on social media, and it is going viral with a claim that the government of Maharashtra has approved the ‘Shakti Act,’ and now rapists will be hanged in the state of Maharashtra.

 

Twitter

Ria, a Congress supporter, An ex Vj n Rj in Zee tv Dubai, Currently a Social Media Activist, @IYC tweeted –

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Truth

The viral claim is false, the final draft of the ‘Shakti bill’ is still being prepared.

 

(Photo: Outlook/Screenshot)

 

 

(Photo: NDTV/Screenshot)

 

Using keywords like ‘Shakti Bill implementation’ and ‘Maharashtra Assembly,’  we searched on Google and found several news reports from various news media outlets regarding the latest updates on the bill. All these news reports explicitly mentioned that the Maharashtra Assembly on 5 July 2021 extended the deadline for the joint select committee’s report on the two ‘Shakti Bills’ that include stringent punishments for crimes against women and children. The news reports can be accessed here here here

 

During our investigation, we came across a tweet from the news agency ANI, and it also confirmed that the deadline for the Joint Committee, working on the bill, has been extended till the last day of the next Assembly session. The tweet also made it clear that the Joint Committee responsible for the bill is still working on the final draft of the bill. To corroborate the fact that the ‘Shakti Bill’ is yet to be passed in the state assembly, we reached out to Mumbai Police. They also confirmed that the Joint Committee responsible for the bill is still preparing the final draft, and it is yet to become a law.

The ‘Shakti Bill’ was tabled by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government last year in December, and it is an attempt to curb the incidents of sexual violence against women and children in the state. The draft of the bill proposes death penalty for rape, acid attack, and crimes against children. The bill proposes to add a heavy fine amount of up to Rs 10 lakh and increased prison sentences to the ones found guilty. To bring new offences under the purview of law and to expedite the pace at which investigations and trials are carried out in crimes against women and children the bill seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

As per the bill, the list of new crimes to be governed by the law includes intimidating and defaming women on social media, false complaints in regards to rape, and acid attacks among others.

Significantly, the Shakti Bill has been drafted on the lines of Andhra Pradesh’s Disha Act.
The Disha Act paves the way to severe punishment for crimes against women including the provision of death penalty for rape and also reduces the judgement period to 21 working days in crimes such as rape.

After reading all the news reports pertaining to the matter and after a thorough investigation, we conclude that the final draft of the Shakti Bill is still being prepared, and therefore the viral claim is false.

Notably, we had debunked a similar false claim last month which stated that President Ram Nath Kovind had passed an ordinance allowing death sentence for all the rapists in India. You can read that news story here.

 

Rupesh Kumar

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Rupesh Kumar

A Journalism student at Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, who writes out of sheer avidity and has a nose for news, seeking to leverage skills to contribute to high-quality journalism.