Nearly a year after enacting a legislation to expedite trial and sentencing in rape and murder cases within 21 days, the Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday withdrew the law following queries raised by the Centre.

State home minister Mekathoti Sucharita introduced a bill in the assembly on Wednesday seeking to withdraw the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill – Andhra Pradesh Special Courts for Specified Offences against Women and Children Bill, 2019. It was named after a Hyderabad-based veterinarian who was raped and killed by four youths on November 28 last year and was given a pseudonym Disha.

The legislation, which was passed by the state assembly on December 13 last year, sought to complete investigation into alleged rape and murder cases, conduct of trial in special courts and awarding of sentences to the accused within 21 days.

The legislation was later sent to the Centre for Presidential assent, since it required certain amendments to the Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code. Chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote to the Centre several times and even took it up personally with Union home minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visits to New Delhi.

An official in the Andhra Pradesh home ministry familiar with the development said the Union home ministry and law ministry which examined the state legislation raised certain objections, since it required a lot of amendments to the IPC and CrPC.

“The Disha Act suggested changes in certain sections of the IPC and CrPC with a view to making them applicable only in Andhra Pradesh. The Union law ministry objected to it, saying it might not be possible to accept it in its present form, as changes cannot be made only for a particular state. If it has to amend the IPC and CrPC, it has to do for the entire country,” the official said.

As a result, the state government withdrew the bill. “A fresh legislation would be introduced in the assembly after incorporating suggestions given by the Centre,” the official said.

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