A Bill providing death penalty for rape of girls aged 12 or less was tabled in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Thursday. The Dand Vidhi (Madhya Pradesh Sansodhan) Vidheyak, 2017, proposes to amend the IPC and CrPC to introduce sub-sections to effectively deal with crimes against women. Once the Assembly passes the Bill, it will be sent to the Centre for the President’s nod.
No other state in the country has proposed such stringent punishment for crimes against women, especially minor girls aged 12 and below. The Bill was tabled on a day the National Crime Records Bureau released data according to which Madhya Pradesh accounted for the highest number of rape cases in 2016.
Tabled by state Law Minister Rampal Singh, the Bill says cases of harassment and sexual crimes against women are increasing by the day. It adds that several cases of suicide by victims of harassment have been registered in the last three years. Rape of girls aged 12 and less is a heinous crime and needs to be dealt with effectively, says the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill.
The Bill proposes to punish those accused of raping girls aged 12 or less with death penalty or a minimum term of 14 years’ rigorous imprisonment or life term till death. Those accused of gangrape will be punished with death or a minimum of 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment or term lasting till death.
It proposes terms ranging between three and seven years for harassment (first offence). For second and subsequent offences, the minimum jail term will be seven to 10 years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Stalking will invite jail term of three years for the first offence. Second and subsequent offences will be punished with minimum three years and maximum seven years in jail and fine of Rs 1 lakh.
Another proposed amendment says bail will not be granted to those accused of crimes punishable with seven or more years before hearing the public prosecutor. Assault with intention to disrobe or use of force will be punishable with three or more years for first offence. The term will increase to minimum seven years for second and subsequent offences but the maximum term will be 10 years. Living in or having sex on the pretext of marriage will be punishable with a term up to three years or a fine.