Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh on Friday cleared the bill seeking the stringent punishment including the death penalty in cases of sexual abuses against women, within 21 days of FIR being filed.

This comes days after a 26-year-old woman was gangraped and set ablaze by four men in the neighbouring state of Telangana. The accused were killed in a police encounter. “Hats off to KCR and Telangana police officers,” Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had said, reacting to the encounter.

Further, this gains significance as it will make Andhra Pradesh the first state in India to have capital punishment for rape cases. The law has been named as the Andhra Pradesh ‘Disha Act’ following the moniker attributed to the veterinarian whose rape and brutal murder sparked pan-India protests on women safety in India.

On the lines of the amended Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2019, the act mandates the death penalty for sexual abuse of children.

As per the new act, trial of such gruesome cases should be completed in 14 days and judgment should be delivered within 21 days.

The state government has also decided to slap cases on those who abuse women on various social media platforms. First-Time offenders could face a two-year jail term, while repeat offenders could attract double the punishment, a report said.