Sexual offenders likely to be booked under Goonda Act in Karnataka

The State government on Monday announced that it intends to book the accused in the Pulakeshinagar and Varthur rape cases under the Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum Grabbers Act, 1985, popularly known as the Goonda Act.

Though sexual offences are not covered under the Act in its present form, the six accused in the gang-rape of a law student on the Jnanabharathi campus in October 2012 were booked under the Goonda Act. The advisory board of the Karnataka High Court — consisting of three judges — had validated booking the accused under the Goonda Act. The six accused in that case were involved in various instances of robbery and dacoity earlier, the probe had then revealed.

A senior police official said the City Police Commissioner could use his discretion and book persons under the Goonda Act, if they are found to be habitual offenders, and under extraordinary circumstances against people acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.

In both the Pulakeshinagar and Varthur rape cases, there have not been earlier cases registered against the accused. However, sources said there need not be prior cases registered against the individual to be booked under the Goonda Act. It is enough that the police are convinced of his involvement in other crimes which may have gone unreported.

The city police have claimed that their investigation into both the cases have now revealed that the accused were involved in earlier cases of sexual assault as well, warranting booking them under the Goonda Act.

The procedure is that the divisional Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) has to submit a report recommending booking certain individuals under the Goonda Act after which the City Police Commissioner can book them under the Act.

Persons booked under the Goonda Act can be detained for one year without a trial.

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Printable version | Aug 20, 2022 6:30:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sexual-offenders-likely-to-be-booked-under-goonda-act-in-karnataka/article6234701.ece