Karnataka Assembly amends Goonda Act

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 Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Monday passed an amendment to the Goonda Act, bringing sexual offences, including rapes, under its ambit. The Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum-Grabbers and Video or Audio Pirates (Amendment) Bill, 2014, passed without a discussion in the Assembly.

Some facts on amended Act

  • The law popularly known as Goonda Act, earlier did not cover sexual offenders.
  • Under the new Act, an accused may be arrested without warrant and detained up to one year.
  • The new law also include acid attacks, offences relating to environment, digital, media, land grabbing, and money laundering under its ambit.

Sexual offenders will now be termed as 'sexual predators'

  • Sexual offenders will now be termed as 'sexual predators' in the State as per the amended Bill.
  • It defines sexual predator as a person who commits or attempts or abets the commission of any offence under Sections 376, 376a, 376b, 376c, 376d and 376e of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
  • The amendment has been pushed in order to apply the stringent law in the Vibgyor school rape case. Invoking the Goonda Act makes getting bail much tougher for the accused.

New law also includes acid attacks, offences relating to environment

  • An acid attacker has been defined as a person who commits or attempts or abets the commission of any offences under Sections 326A and 326B of the IPC, the Poisons Act, 1919, and Mysore Poisons Rules, 1966.
  • The Bill also proposes to bring digital offenders and land grabbers under the Goonda Act.
  • A person who illegally mines sand will be termed as "predator of the environment".
  • The new law defines money launderer as a person who by any direct act derives monetary benefits for himself or any other person, commits or abets an offence specified in Part A of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
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