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~By Kunal Rao

The Delhi HC on Tuesday (Oct 30) transferred the plea seeking stringent laws to tackle the growing menace of chain snatching in Delhi, before the regular bench saying, “we can’t alter a legislative law”.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Prashant Manchanda stressing that snatching was not a crime in isolation, but it sets off a series of heinous offences against women, including molestation, attempt to murder and even deaths of the victims.

PIL raised serious concern regarding the incidents of chain snatching in Delhi. Amongst the several issues pointed out by the petitioner, it is contended that the offence of chain snatching is booked by the Delhi Police ordinarily under Section 356/379 of the IPC where offences are punishable with imprisonment upto 3 years.

Manchanda argued that even without amendment of the Indian Penal Code making snatching a specific offence, Section 390 of the IPC would be attracted for the reason that Section 390 uses the expression “fear of instant death, of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint” which is an essential part of the offence in question. It is submitted that the Delhi Police is required to examine this aspect with regard to registration of cases and booking of criminals in chain snatching cases.

On the earlier hearings into this matter, the court was informed by Gautam Narayan, Additional Standing Counsel that the Delhi government has written letters to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is required to take action in this regard.

The bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao noted that no response has been filed by the Centre into this matter.

The court deferred the matter to January 28 to be listed before the regular bench.

—India Legal Bureau

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