The Bombay High Court Monday upheld the constitutional validity of Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The stringent provision was added by an amendment made by the Parliament in 2013, following the Nirbhaya gangrape incident.
Punishment for repeat rape offenders
Under section 376E of the IPC, a repeat rape offender will have to be imprisoned for the rest of his life or sentenced to death.
According to Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, whoever has been previously convicted of an offence punishable under section 376 or section 376A or section 376D and is subsequently convicted of an offence punishable under any of the said sections shall be punished with imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, or with death.
In 2014, a session court in Maharashtra had pronounced death sentence to three convicts — Vijay Jadhav, Mohammed Kasim Bengali and Mohammed Salim Ansari who were accused for the gangrape of a city-based photojournalist on August 22, 2013. The same year, the three were also convicted for raping a call centre employee. Both instances of gangrape had taken place in 2013 in the Shakti Mills compound.
The trials in both the cases were held simultaneously and the court subsequently allowed a prosecution plea to charge the convicts under Section 376E.
The law has been challenged by the three convicts. Earlier this year, during arguments before the court, lawyer Yug Chaudhry, arguing for the accused, had said that the accused could not have been charged under Section 376E as the second offence was not committed after conviction in the first. Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for the state government and Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh for the Centre supported the law, by stating that such law was necessary to tackle increasing cases of rape in the country.