Bill providing stringent punishment to rape convicts introduced in Lok Sabha

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New Delhi, July 23. The central government on Monday introduced The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in Lok Sabha. The proposed law provides for stringent punishment including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.

The proposed legislation, once passed by Parliament, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21, following an outcry over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and the rape of another woman in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Kiren Rijiju, while introducing the Bill said the recent incidents of rape and gangrape of women under the age of 16 years and 12 years have shaken the conscience of the entire nation. So such cases required effective deterrence through legal provisions of more stringent punishment, he added.

“Some of the incidents in recent years have been marked by increased brutality and violence perpetrated on minor girls. This has fuelled demands from various sections of the society to make penal provisions more stringent and effective, immediate arrest of the accused and ensure speedy trial in such cases,” Rijiju said.

The Bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12 years. Death sentence has been provided for convicted rapists of girls below 12 years of age. As per the provisions of the Bill the minimum punishment in case of rape of women has also been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.

According to the Bill, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convicts’ “natural life”. The punishment for gangrape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.

The proposed law also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The time limit for investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be completed within two months. The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed. There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gangrape of a girl below 16 years.

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