Monday, January 30, 2023

Supreme Court asks Centre to treat plea as representation seeking criminal law amendments to make it more stringent

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the ministries of Home Affairs, Law and Justice and Women and Child Development to treat a plea as a representation which seeks directions for reforms and amendments in criminal law to make it more stringent and deterrent in cases of Rape/Gang Rape, PMLA, POCSO and NDPS, etc. 

A three-judge bench of Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose disposed of the plea while appreciating the efforts of the petitioner Kirti Ahuja who appeared and argued the matter in person through Video Conferencing. “We appreciate the efforts made by the petitioner-in-person but do not think it proper to give any direction to the Government to legislate,” said the Apex Court. 

The Court was hearing the plea filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India praying for the following reliefs:

“A. Issue writ, order or direction to the respondents to bring certain reforms and amendments in the law to make it more stringent and deterrent in cases of rape with grievous injury, gang rape and rape/gang-rape with murder by :-

I. By making stringent provisions of bail for such accused as are in the case of offences under special Enactments like POCSO, PMLA and NDPS;

II. By giving rape victims the right to appoint lawyer of their choice having all powers like that of a defence lawyer by making amendment in Section 301 Cr.P.C.;

III. By bringing separate legislation like that of POCSO to deal with cases of rape with grievous injury, gang rape and rape/gang-rape with death;

IV. By making and implementing the provision of Fast Track Court for such cases not only at the Trial level but also at Appellate Stage and to implement the Amendment made in Section 173 and 309 Cr.P.C. in 2018 in its right perspective;

V. By changing the provision of right to appeal of accused in such heinous cases, by giving them only one opportunity of right to Appeal either in High Court or in Supreme Court;

VI. By bringing the provision of reverse onus on the accused in such rape cases as it is in cases of POCSO under Section 29 and 30 of the Act;

VII. By making stringent provisions for punishment to police officials for intentionally making lapses in investigation by not following the law in such cases;

B. Issue strict guidelines and directions for proper implementation of the existing rape-laws including the proposed suggestions detailed in Para 17 of this petition along with strict action to be taken against non-implementation of such laws;

C. Issue Writ, order or Direction to the respondents for proper implementation of guidelines already issued by this Court in regard to protection of identity of rape victims along with making people aware about the guidelines of this Court as well as Section 228A IPC by way of Advertisements and Disclaimers;

D. Issue Writ, Order or Direction to the respondents for introducing a compulsory subject on Gender Sensitization, moral and sex education in curriculum of school. “

The Court said, “We grant liberty to the petitioners-in-person to make a representation to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Women and Child Development regarding the issues raised in the instant petition.”

It said, “We hope and trust that the respondents shall consider the same and take appropriate action on that.”


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