Maharashtra: Now, cops to get more time to probe serious crimes
State govt gives nod for proposal to amend Criminal Procedure Code
The Maharashtra government has decided to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in order to give the police more time to investigate serious offences. During the period of the probe, the accused will not get bail.
The state cabinet approved the proposal on Thursday. The amendment will empower the court to give the police 120 days in which to file a charge sheet, instead of the current 90 days. The amendment will apply to serious offences that invite life imprisonment, capital punishment or a term of a minimum 10 years. In certain acts, like the MCOCA, the police get 180 days to investigate and charge-sheet. This comes in two stages — 90 days are given initially and then another 90 days added by the court if specifically asked for by the public prosecutors.
Sources said a similar application will work in serious offences in which the government pleader can demand up to 120 days from the existing limit of 90 days. However, no extension has been proposed for the police custody remand (PCR) period. It would remain unchanged at 15 days for interrogation of the accused.
The accused in judicial custody would not be required to be physically present in court when charges are fixed against him/her. The court can connect with the accused via video-conferencing. All such means would be deemed legal.The proposed changes will be tabled in an amendment bill in the ongoing monsoon session of the state legislature, and will then be subjected to the Union government's approval.
Justice in small offences
In a bid to reduce the number of pending court cases, the Cabinet has planned to decide the cases in which the accused can be fined R10,000 if found guilty. The court will be empowered to summon the accused to pay the penalty and end the case without any trial.
Ease in family court cases
There is another amendment that will ease the procedure for seeking maintenance from an estranged husband. The woman may now file an application in the city where her parents stay, instead of her husband's residential town. The woman and her children have been exempted from appearing in court and allowed to submit their say through lawyers. The court will now directly send notice to the parties concerned (through email and other means) instead of diverting it through the local police station.
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