Bill for awarding death penalty for child rape moves to Lok Sabha
Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the stringent law was aimed at providing safety to minor girls.
The bill seeks to replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21, following an outcry over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and the rape of another woman at Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. Although the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 was welcomed by most members, some in the Opposition objected to the government adopting the ordinance route to enact the law.
The recent incidents of rape and gangrape of women below the age of 12 years have shaken the conscience of the entire nation, he said. Therefore, the offenses of rape and gangrape of women under the age of 12-16 year require effective deterrence through legal provisions of more stringent punishment, he said.
The minimum punishment in cases of rape of women has been increased from the rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
According to the bill, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convict's "natural life". The punishment for the gangrape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.
Gangrape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death. The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The time limit for the investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within two months.
The deadline for the completion of a trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed, the bill says, adding that there will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gangrape of a girl under 16 years.
It has also been prescribed that a court has to give notice of 15 days to a public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding on bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age. Participating in the debate, BJP member Kirron Kher said the bill was "well-timed" and provides hope for safer future for women.
She said the opposition should not selectively highlight the case of child rape but speak about how to deal with the heinous crime. She was referring to the issue of Kathua rape case which was raised by N K Premachandran (RSP) who had moved a statutory resolution to disapprove the ordinance promulgated by the President on April 21 this year.
Premachandran said it was appalling that a minor girl was gang-raped in a temple and brutally murdered thereafter. Kher said the bill deals with the current reality and lesser than the death penalty in case of rape of minor girl cannot be justified.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)