In an attempt to protect children from sexual assault, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has approved two ordinances on rape Thursday, one of which provides with death penalty to perpetrator committing rape of a girl below 12.
Two ordinances that received Vohra’s nod were The Jammu & Kashmir Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 & The Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Children from Sexual Violence Ordinance, 2018.
Ordinance on rape passed in India excludes Jammu and Kashmir and, therefore, Vohra passed two state ordinances separately Thursday amending state criminal laws, namely the Ranbir Penal Code Samvat 1989, the Code of Criminal Procedure Samvat 1989 and the Evidence Act, Samvat, 1977 falling under The Jammu & Kashmir Criminal Law (Amendment) Act.
The union cabinet had last month passed an ordinance allowing the courts to award the death penalty to rapists of girls under 12 years of age.
The Jammu & Kashmir Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018:
The Jammu and Kashmir criminal law ordinance penalises a perpetrator committing rape on a girl below 16 with 20 years of rigorous imprisonment extending to life which, shall be the remainder of the natural life.
Gangrape of a minor girl below the age of 16 would be punishable with life imprisonment and committing rape or gangrape of a girl below 12-year-old would be punishable with death.
In such cases, the investigation by the police has to be completed within two months and trial in court is to conclude within six months. In case of delay, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court would be apprised with reasons. Additionally, in such sensitive cases, the ordinance states that no bail would be provided before the case has been heard by a Public Prosecutor.
The Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Children from Sexual Violence Ordinance, 2018:
The second ordinance is similar to POCSO providing relief to children from sexual assault and harassment and pornography. Child friendly-procedures, sensitive reporting by media, recording of evidence, investigation of cases and trial of offences have been provided in the ordinance.
Similar to POCSO, the ordinance seeks to establish Special Courts for speedy trial of such offences. Further, it makes it mandatory for educational institutions to ensure safety and protection of children and to not expose them to any form of sexual abuse.