A day after the Union cabinet cleared the Ordinance for death penalty for those convicted of raping children below 12 years of age, President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated the criminal law amendment ordinance, paving the way for the stringent punishment. The Union Cabinet’s approval to the Ordinance followed public outcry over cases of sexual assault and murder of minors in Kathua and Surat.
“Whereas Parliament is not in session and the President is satisfied that the circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action. “Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 123 of the Constitution, the President is pleased to promulgate the following ordinance,” the gazette notification said.
The ordinance stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls aged below 16 years and 12 years. Death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years. 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.
According to the ordinance, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, “extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convict’s natural life”. The punishment for gangrape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the “rest of life of the convict”.
The ordinance provides for stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years, with a minimum jail term of 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. Gangrape of a girl under 12 years will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death, it said.
The Indian Penal Code, the Evidence Act, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act stand amended with promulgation of the ordinance after the approval of the President.
The President also approved the Fugitive Economic Offender Ordinance passed by the cabinet Saturday. The ordinance provides for stringent punishment against economic defaulters and aims to tackle cases involving the likes of Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya.