Cabinet OKs death for rape of girls under 12

The Union Cabinet on Saturday approved an Ordinance, proposing to punish a perpetrator of rape of girl below 12 years of age with a maximum penalty of death sentence. The minimum prescribed sentence for rape of a woman is also proposed to be raised from seven to 10 years.

In a comprehensive measure, it has also been proposed to complete the investigation and trial in all rape cases on a fast track basis.

A period of two months each has been fixed for investigation and trial, while there would be no provision for anticipatory bail in case of rape of a girl below 16 years of age.

“The government has taken serious note of incidents of rape. While expressing anguish, it has been decided to devise a comprehensive response to deal with the situation,” sources said.

The country saw huge public outrage over the murder-cum-rape of minor girls in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and Surat in Gujarat and another incident of sexual assault at Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

The Union Cabinet gave approval to the promulgation of the ‘Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018’ for “effective deterrence against the commission of rape and instilling a sense of security among women and especially young girls in the country”.

‘The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018’, mandating maximum punishment of death to child rapists, will be sent to President for his assent.

The Ordinance would entail changes in Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Indian Evidence Act.

Under the proposed change, stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided - minimum 20 years’ imprisonment or imprisonment for rest of life and maximum with a death sentence.

In case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, minimum punishment will be imprisonment for rest of life and the maximum death sentence, the official sources said.

The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from the rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable up to life imprisonment.

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