President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave assent to the Criminal Law Ordinance, 2018, which allows courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children below 12 years of age. The Ordinance was approved by the Cabinet on Saturday. The Ordinance will now have to be ratified by both Houses of Parliament within six weeks, once they reconvene.
The Ordinance recommends a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment or imprisonment for rest of life and the maximum of death for the rape of girls under 12. In case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, the minimum punishment will be imprisonment for the “rest of life” and the maximum, death sentence. For the offence of rape, of those above 16, minimum punishment has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, “extendable to life imprisonment”.
The proposed Ordinance also removes the provision for anticipatory bail for those of raping or gangraping a child under 16. “It has also been provided that court has to give a notice of 15 days to the public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age,” the government said in a statement.
On Saturday, after clearing the Ordinance, the government said in a statement, “It (Ordinance) will provide effective deterrence against commission of rape and instilling a sense of security among women and especially young girls in the country.” The proposed amendment seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to introduce a new provision to sentence convicts of such crimes to death.
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