Death for Child Rape : Lok Sabha Passes Criminal Law Amendment Bill [Read Bill]
On Monday, July 30, the Lok Sabha passed Criminal Law(Amendment) Bill making rape of girl below the age of twelve years an offence punishable with death. The Bill seeks to amend provisions of Indian Penal Code(IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure, Evidence Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). It replaced the Ordinance promulgated by the Central Government during April 2018 in the wake of public outcry over Kathua incident of rape and murder of a minor girl.
Amendments to IPC :
- Minimum ten years imprisonment for rape : Section 376(1) IPC sought to be amended to increase the minimum punishment for rape of women from imprisonment for seven years to imprisonment for ten years. The punishment may extend up to life imprisonment.
- Minimum twenty years imprisonment for rape of child below 16 :Sub-section(3) sought to be inserted in Section 376 to make rape of girl below the age of 16 years punishable with minimum twenty years of imprisonment.The punishment may extend up to life imprisonment.
- Death for rape of girl aged below 12 years :Section 376AB sought to be inserted to make rape of child aged below the age of 12 years punishable with death
- Life imprisonment for gang rape of girl below 16 yearsSection 376DA sought to be inserted to provide for life imprisonment for those involved in gang rape of girl below under age of 16 years. It is also mentioned that life imprisonment shall mean imprisonment for the reminder of the natural life of the convict.
- Death for gange rape of girl aged below 12 years :Section 376DB sought to be inserted to provide for death penalty for gang rape of girl below the age of 12 years.
- Section 228A IPC sought to be amended to include offences under newly inserted Sec.376(3), 376DA, and 376DB under the bar of disclosure of victim's identity.
- Section 166A to be IPC amended to provide for punishment of public servant failing to register complaint in cases under newly inserted sections.
Amendments to Criminal Procedure Code.
- Speedy Investigation :- Investigation of cases to be completed within two months, as per sub-section (1A) sought to be inserted in Sectiojn 173, Cr.PC
- No anticipatory bail :- .Section 438 CrPC sought to be amended to state that no anticipatory bail can be granted to persons accused under newly inserted offences.
- Restrictions on regular bail:- Regular bail applications under Section 439 for persons accused under newly inserted offences can be heard only after fifteen days notice to the public prosecutor
The First Schedule of Cr.P.C is sought to be amended to clarify that the new offences are non-bailable and cognizable, to be tried by Court of Session.
Section 42 of the POCSO Act is sought to be amended to clarify that greater amongst the punishments under IPC and POCSO will be applicable for the acts.
Section 53A and 146 of the Evidence Act are also sought to be amended to include the newly inserted sections.
Introducing the Bill in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju said "In recent times, there have been many cases of rape which have shaken the conscience of this nation. So with a view to bringing in a stringent measure to punish the criminals, the Government had promulgated this Ordinance. Now, to replace that Ordinance the Government is moving this Bill"
Most members supported the Bill. However, Pinaki Misra,BJD MP, pointed out that the newly created offences are not gender neutral, and hence similar crimes committed on boys under the age of 16 or 12 will attract lesser punishments under POCSO Act. This results in an anomaly, which could be resolved by using gender neutral term "child" instead of "woman" in the newly introduced provisions. He also pointed out that since death sentence is provided, victim children will have to be cross-examined, thereby diluting the protection afforded to children under POCSO Act. He therefore urged that the Bill be sent to Select Committee for further examination.
The Bill was passed by a voice vote on Monday.Read the Bill passed by Lok Sabha