Maha to have 36 courts to try cases under Shakti Act: Deshmukh

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Aurangabad, Jan 29 (PTI) As many as 36 courts will be set up in Maharashtra to try cases under the Shakti Act and dedicated police teams will be appointed to investigate these cases, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Friday.

The minister, who heads the joint select committee of Maharashtra legislature looking into the Shakti Act draft bill, was in Aurangabad to discuss the bill with organisations representing women and lawyers.

Dedicated police teams under an officer of deputy superintendent of police rank will be appointed to probe cases registered under the Shakti Act, the minister said during a press conference here.

At least 36 dedicated courts will be set up to try cases under the Act, he said.

'We have obtained necessary permissions from the Central government,' he said, adding that points coming out of these discussions will be used to strengthen the framework of the law.

Investigations in cases registered under Shakti Act will be completed within 15 working days from the date the offence is registered, while the trial shall be completed within 30 working days, the minister said.

'If a complaint filed by a woman is found fake during the probe, there will be a provision for punishment,' he added.

Meanwhile, speaking about recruitments for the police department, Deshmukh said 12,500 policemen will be recruited across the state.

In first phase, the recruitment will be undertaken for 5300 jobs, while the remaining will be completed in the second phase, he said.

The Shakti Act draft 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.

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 state cabinet and the draft bill was sent to the committee during the winter session of the legislature.