Bill for stringent punishment in rape cases introduced

Bill for stringent punishment in rape cases introduced

Rape cases being marked by "increased brutality and violence", the government on Monday introduced an amendment bill in Lok Sabha to provide for stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below 12 years.

The proposed law also seeks to ensure time bound investigation and trial of rape offences. 

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, introduced by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju in Lok Sabha, also seeks to increase the minimum punishment for rapes from the existing seven years to ten years, which is extendable to life imprisonment. Those accused in cases of rape of girls below the age of 12 and 16 years cannot seek anticipatory bail.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill said the recent incidents of rape and gang-rape on women under the age of 16 years and 12 years have "shaken the conscience of the entire nation" and there is need for "effective deterrence through legal provisions for more stringent punishment".

"Some of the incidents in the recent years have been marked by increased brutality and violence perpetrated on minor girls. This has fuelled demands from various sections of the society to make the penal provisions more stringent and effective, provide for immediate arrest of the accused and speedy trial in such cases," it said.

The bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued on April 21 after a public outcry against the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and the rape of another woman in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

Longer jail terms 

The bill envisages stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years -- a rigourous imprisonment of minimum 20 years that can be extended to life imprisonment and with fine or death. For gang-rape of a girl under 12 years, the minimum punishment is life imprisonment and fine or death.

In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment is 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of the natural life of the convict. The punishment for gang-rape of a girl below 16 years will be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.

The bill also stipulates that investigation of all rape cases should be competed within two months from the date on which the information is recorded by police, while the trial should be completed in two months.

An appeal against a conviction or acquittal should be disposed of within six months.