A Bill awarding a maximum sentence of death to those convicted for raping girls below 12 years of age was passed by Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha approving the proposed law by voice vote. The Lok Sabha had cleared it on July 30.
The bill will now replace the Criminal Law Ordinance, promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind on April 22 following a public outrage over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and the rape of a minor from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
The amendments have been made to the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 :-
- It stipulates a minimum jail term of 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence, for the rape of a girl under 12 years.
- While perpetrators involved in the gangrape of a girl below 12 years of age will get life imprisonment or death.
- In case of rape of a girl below 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years and it is extendable to life imprisonment.
- The punishment for the gang-rape of a girl below 16 years of age will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of the life of the convict.
- Accordingly, the minimum sentence in cases of rape of women has been increased from seven to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.
- The law also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The probe has to be completed within two months.
- The deadline for completion of trial in all rape cases will also be two months, while a six-month limit has been set for disposal of appeals.
- There will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang-rape of an under-16 girl.