New Delhi, Mar 14 (PTI) The AAP Government has told the Delhi High Court that it has written to the Centre to consider amending the penal provisions to deal with the serious issue of chain snatching in the national capital.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to positively file a status report on the action taken by it on the letter written by Delhi government.
Delhi government’s additional standing counsel Gautam Narayan informed the bench that Haryana and Punjab have made snatching a separate offence after amending the law.
He said the Delhi government has written a letter to the MHA to take action on it but it has not received any response yet.
The court was hearing a petition by advocate Prashant Manchanda who has alleged that chain snatchings in the city have seen a six-fold rise leading to a fear psychosis in the minds of citizens as well as tourists who are also targeted by the perpetrators.
The court, which listed the matter for further hearing on August 1, noted that the petition raised a serious concern of the offence of chain snatching in Delhi.
During the hearing, the petitioner contended that the Delhi Police was booking the offenders of such a crime in a routine manner under milder provisions which entail a punishment of only up to three years.
He said even without a specific offence under the law to make snatching a separate offence, the offenders could be booked under section 390 (robbery) of the IPC as it uses the word ‘fear of wrongful restraint’ and carries a jail term of up to 10 years.
The court asked the Delhi Police to examine the issue while considering this aspect.
It had earlier issued notice to the Delhi government, police and the municipal corporations and sought their replies to the plea which also contended that various parks in the city were the hubs of such crimes and the criminal elements frequented such places due to lack of vigilance.
The plea has claimed that on an average, there were 25 snatching cases every day in the national capital due to the absence of effective laws and indifference of the police, which book the offenders under the trivial provisions of theft instead of robbery or dacoity, even though weapons are used to commit such crimes.
“Many incidents of snatching entail serious wounds and also involve use of deadly weapons, leading to fatal injuries or death of the victims, the petition has said.
Manchanda had earlier told the court that the state of Haryana, recognising the seriousness of the problem, has made inclusions in the penal law IPC to make it harsher against snatchings.
It had also said that in Maharashtra too, the punishment for snatching has been made stringent and in some cases, the Mumbai police has also invoked Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.