Shinde defends decision to keep age of consent at 18

Defending the decision to retain the age of consent at 18 in the anti-rape bill, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Tuesday said that the new legislation provides for stricter punishment in crimes against women.

Replying to a debate on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, in the Lok Sabha, Shinde said there should be presence of women personnel at every police station.

He said the government had earlier agreed to lower the age of consent to 16 but decided to keep it at 18 following suggestions from political parties.

The ordinance promulgated by the government following nationwide outrage over the gang-rape of a young woman in the capital had kept the age of consent at 18, he said.

He said there were demands from women groups for treating stalking and voyeurism as separate crimes.

"Provisions have been made in a manner that there is fear of law," Shinde said.

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