President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to the Criminal Law (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2018, which provides for a maximum 10-year imprisonment for anyone convicted of chain snatching and causing injuries in the process. He gave his assent recently, a home ministry official said on condition of anonymity without specifying the exact date when Kovind approved the legislation.
Chain snatchers are normally charged with the Indian Penal Code (IPC)’s Section 379 (theft) elsewhere in the country and can lead up to three years in jail or fine or both. In September 2018, the Gujarat assembly amended the Section 379. It added two clauses, IPC 379 (A) and 379 (B) to incorporate the stringent punishment. The amendment also provides for a fine of up to ~25,000 for those convicted of chain snatching. An official said any legislation for changes to the IPC requires presidential assent.
Another official said the section was amended as the punishment for theft under it was insufficient to deter criminals, who would often get bail. As per the new law, a snatching attempt can lead to a minimum five and maximum seven years of imprisonment. An accused will be liable to seven years of imprisonment for chain snatching.
The law provides for up to 10-year imprisonment in case injuries are inflicted during chain snatching.
A Gujarat police officer said there are similar provisions under the law for strict punishment for chain snatching in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Haryana. According to the Gujarat police, there has been an increase in chain snatching incidents in the state. As many as 405 cases of chain snatching were registered in 2015, which increased to 541 in 2017.
May 22, 2019 23:24 IST
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