Updated: March 15, 2018 6:25:44 pm
Following the footsteps of the neighbouring BJP government in Rajasthan, the Haryana Assembly on Thursday passed the Bill advocating capital punishment for rape of children below 12 years of age.
Earlier last week, Rajasthan became the second state after Madhya Pradesh to pass a bill with similar provisions. Maharashtra and Karnataka are also considering the death penalty for child rapists.
The Criminal Law (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2018, moved by the state’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, was passed on the last day of the budget session.
“After Section 376-A of the Penal Code, the following Section shall be inserted, namely 376-AA,” the Bill stated. Under section 376-AA, in case of rape of a girl up to 12 years of age, there will be a punishment of death or rigorous imprisonment of not less than 14 years which may extend to imprisonment for life that is for remainder period of persons natural life, according to the legislation.
A provision 376-DA has also been added after section 376-D of the penal code. Under section–376-DA, if a girl upto 12 years of age is raped by one or more persons constituting a group, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of rape and will be punished with death or rigorous imprisonment for a term which will not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to life along with a fine.
The Bill also provides for making the existing criminal laws related to other sexual offences more stringent. The punishment under section 354 of the IPC (Assault or criminal force against woman with intent to outrage her modesty) will not be less than two years (earlier not less than one year) but may extend up to seven years (earlier up to five years).
Also, under section 354D (2) of the IPC, those found guilty of stalking will be punished on first conviction with imprisonment up to three years and can be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment for not less than three years, but which may extend to seven years (earlier up to five years). The new additions also include provisions of fining the convict and any such fine will be paid to the victim.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had earlier said that the state would enact a law providing capital punishment to those found guilty of sexually abusing girls aged 12 years or below. Besides, the state government would make a request for setting up fast-track courts for dealing with rape cases to ensure speedy justice to victims.
Expressing anguish and concern over the incidents of rape in the state, Khattar had in January said though the police were dealing with such cases as required under the law, it had been decided to make provisions of “harsher punishment for rape”. “Law would be enacted soon to hang those convicted of raping girls aged 12 or younger,” he said.
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