Rajasthan on Friday approved a bill providing for the death penalty to those convicted of raping girls under 12 years of age. Madhya Pradesh has already cleared a bill with similar provisions in December last year while Haryana Cabinet this February gave its nod to a proposal to bring in such a legislation. Maharashtra and Karnataka are also considering the death penalty for child rapists.
State Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria introduced The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018 on Friday in the assembly, which was passed in the House by a voice vote following a debate. The bill seeks to add section 376-AA in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which will be defined as: “Punishment for rape on a woman up to twelve years of age. Whoever commits rape on a woman up to twelve years of age shall be punished with death, or rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than fourteen years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Two amendments were made in the bill including that the convict cannot leave the prison for life even after completing 14 years of sentence.
“We have made two amendments in the case. Added life sentence & life imprisonment for convicts in offenses against girls below 12 years of age, also made a provision that convict can’t leave the prison for life even after completing 14 years of sentence,” said Rajasthan Home Minister GC Kataria
A similar provision, 376-DD, will be added for gangrape. In the ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’ for bringing in the Bill, the government said, “It has come to the notice of the State Government that the offence relating to child rape and child gang-rape are taking place every now and then. Such crimes are heinous and turn the life of the victim into hell.”
Earlier in February, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, in a reply to the Budget debate in the Assembly, had announced that the state government will bring in more stringent punishment, “including capital punishment”, for rape of girls under 12 years.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, the cases of crimes against children have shown a steady rise in Rajasthan. The state recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8 per cent of the crimes against children (98,344) registered across the country. It stands fourth in the crime against women category.
In 2015, the state had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children, which increased by 345 in the year under review. As per the NCRB data, state police registered 728 cases of child rape in 2015, which increased to 858 in 2016.
(With PTI inputs)
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