Prez nod to anti-rape ordinance

President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the  Ordinance, bringing into effect massive changes in penal laws to punish a perpetrator of rape of girl below 12 years of age with maximum penalty of death sentence.

Within hours after approval by the Union Cabinet, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 was sent to the President for assent. With publication of the Ordinance into gazette, the changes into Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act have come into force, sources said.

After the amendment, the investigation and trial in all rape cases have to be conducted on a fast track basis. A period of two months each has been fixed for investigation and trial. There would be no provision for anticipatory bail in rape case of a girl below 16 years of age.

Notably, the measures were brought in as a comprehensive response to deal with the situation, as a number of cases of brutal sexual assault of girl child were reported from different parts of the country, triggering huge public outrage and revulsion.

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday gave approval to the promulgation of the 'Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018' for effective deterrence against commission of rape and instilling a sense of security among women and especially young girls in the country.

Under the changes, stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided - minimum 20 years’ imprisonment or imprisonment for rest of life or with death. In case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, punishment will be imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence, the official sources said.

Besides, the minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from the rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, extendable upto life imprisonment.

In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which shall mean imprisonment till that person’s natural life. The punishment for gang rape of a girl under 16 years of age will invariably be imprisonment for rest of life of the convict, the sources said.

In order to ensure speedy probe and trial, it has been proposed investigation of all cases of rape has to be mandatorily completed within two months, while completion of trial of all rape cases has to be necessarily completed in two months. A time limit of six months has been set for disposal of appeals in rape cases.

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