Punishment : As a result of public anger and action over the brutal rape and murder of a minor in Kathua, Jammu & Kashmir, Maneka Gandhi, union minister for women and child development, had floated the idea of changing the law last week amid national grief,the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday approved an ordinance to allow courts to punish the death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age.
The criminal law amendment ordinance seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to introduce a new provision to sentence convicts of such crimes to death.
Some other changes in law of punishment of rape crime are as below
The minimum punishment in case of rape of women to increase from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, extendable to 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 means imprisonment till that person’s natural life.
Maneka Gandhi has told states to improve the response of the police to sexual offences by setting up special teams, sensitise officers and punish those found to be obstructing the probe.
For speedy trial of rape cases, new fast track courts will be set up in consultation with States/UTs and High Courts. and there will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.
The Cabinet meet follows the Centre informing the Supreme Court on Friday that it proposed to amend POCSO to provide for the death penalty for aggravated sexual assaults on children below 12.
The ordinance would be now sent to the President for his approval.
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