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Death Penalty, Time Limits for Trial and Sex Offender Registry: How Centre Plans to Deter Rapists

The government said that with the ordinance, it hopes to instil a sense of security among women and especially young girls in the country.

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Updated:April 21, 2018, 7:20 PM IST
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Death Penalty, Time Limits for Trial and Sex Offender Registry: How Centre Plans to Deter Rapists
Women and children during a dharna against rape incidents at Rajghat in New Delhi. (Image: PTI)
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance to allow courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age.

The criminal law amendment ordinance 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 punishment of death.

It has also been decided to put in place a number of measures for speedy investigation and trial of rape cases.

The move comes against the backdrop of the alleged rape and murder of girls in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua and Gujarat's Surat district recently. The rape of a minor in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district allegedly by a BJP MLA had also outraged the nation.

The ordinance would be now sent to the President for his approval.

The government said that with the ordinance, it hopes to instil a sense of security among women and especially young girls in the country.

Here are the main features:

Stricter punishment
• Minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
• In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which shall mean imprisonment till that person’s natural life.
• The punishment for gang rape of a girl under 16 years of age will invariably be imprisonment for rest of life of the convict.
• Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided - minimum 20 years’ imprisonment or imprisonment for rest of life or with death.
• In case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, punishment will be imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence.

Speedy investigation and trial:
• Investigation of all cases of rape has to be mandatorily completed within 2 months.
• Completion of trial of all rape cases has to be necessarily completed in 2 months.
• Six months’ time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.

Restrictions on bail
• There will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.
• The court has to give notice of 15 days to Public Prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.

Strengthening the courts and prosecution
• New Fast Track Courts will be set up in consultation with States/UTs and High Courts.
• Creation of new posts of public prosecutors and related infrastructure in consultation with States/UTs.
• Special forensic kits for rape cases to all Police Stations and hospitals.
• Dedicated manpower will be provided for investigation of rape cases in a time bound manner.
• Setting up special forensic labs in each State/UT exclusively for rape cases.
• These measures will form part of a new mission mode project to be launched within 3 months.

Sexual Offender Database
• National Crime Records Bureau will maintain a national database and profile of sexual offenders.
• This data will be regularly shared with States/UTs for tracking, monitoring and investigation, including verification of antecedents by police.

Victim Assistance
• The present scheme of One Stop Centres for assistance to victim to be extended to all districts in the country.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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