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Cabinet’s nod to death for rape of girls under 12An activist holds placard in New Delhi on Saturday. Manas Ranjan Bhui

Cabinet’s nod to death for rape of girls under 12

Time limit for probe and trial22 Apr 2018 | 2:31 AM

NEW DELHI: Taking a serious note of incidents of rape in various parts of the country, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday approved the promulgation of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 which stipulates death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years of age.

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Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21

Taking a serious note of incidents of rape in various parts of the country, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday approved the promulgation of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 which stipulates death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years of age.

The Cabinet decision to issue an ordinance follows nationwide outrage over the recent brutal incidents of sexual assault and murder of minors in Kathua and Surat and rape of a girl in Unnao.

The ordinance provides for stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 years of age and below 12 years of age. Death penalty has been provided for rapists of girls below 12 years of age. 

It has also been decided to put in place a number of measures for speedy investigation and trial of rape cases.

Sources said the ordinance is aimed at effective deterrence against commission of rape and instilling a sense of security among women, especially girls in the country. 

Investigation of all cases of rape has to be mandatorily completed within two months. Completion of trial of all rape cases has to be necessarily completed in two months. A six-month time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.

Restrictions on bail have been imposed and there will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gangrape of a girl under 16 years.

New fast-track courts will be set up in consultation with states/UTs and High Courts. In addition, new posts of public prosecutors will be created along with infrastructure in consultation with states/UTs.

Under the purview of the ordinance is providing special forensic kits for rape cases to all police stations and hospitals. In addition, dedicated manpower will be provided for probe of rape cases in a time-bound manner. These measures will form part of a new mission mode project to be launched in three months.

Amnesty International India said the government must improve implementation of the existing laws to protect children from sexual abuse instead of introducing death penalty. Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India, said, “The decision is a knee-jerk reaction that diverts attention from the poor implementation of laws on rape and child protection. Studies show that most perpetrators are known to child victims. Introducing death penalty in such circumstances will only silence and further endanger kids.” 

Ordinance provides for stringent punishment

  • Under the criminal law aspects of the ordinance, 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 gangrape of a girl below 12 years, punishment will be imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence
  • 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
  • The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment
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