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Punjab Cabinet Extends Centre's Laws Against Rape, Economic Offence

The Punjab Cabinet, chaired by CM Amarinder Singh, approved the republication of two ordinances — one stringent rape laws and the other on fugitive economic offenders.

Anuradha Shukla | News18

Updated:June 27, 2018, 8:19 PM IST
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Punjab Cabinet Extends Centre's Laws Against Rape, Economic Offence
File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Wednesday extended to the state the Centre’s law of giving the death penalty to those convicted of rape of minors under the age of 12 years.

The Punjab Cabinet, chaired by CM Amarinder Singh, approved the republication of two ordinances — one stringent rape laws and the other on fugitive economic offenders.

It has also been decided that investigation into rape cases will have to be completed within two months and appeals in such cases will have to be disposed within six months.

Besides death penalty for rape of a girl child under 12 years, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance amends the IPC to increase the minimum punishment for rape from the existing 7 to 10 years. Minimum punishment for raping a girl child under 16 years of age has been fixed at life imprisonment as against the earlier provision of 20 years of rigorous imprisonment (extendable to imprisonment for life).

The Code of Criminal Procedure has also been amended to ensure mandatory completion of investigation in rape cases within two months.

The provision of anticipatory bail to the rape accused has also been abolished. Further, the High Court or the Court of Sessions, before deciding the regular bail applications, will give a notice of 15 days to the public prosecutor to appear for a hearing of the application. The presence of a person authorized by the victim shall be mandatory for this hearing.

The republication of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 (Ordinance No.2 of 2018) — promulgated by the Government of India to make the law on rape more stringent — in Punjab Gazette for information of the general public and its effective implementation in the state was unanimously approved in the meeting.

In consonance with the Finance Ministry's proposal of promulgating the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018, the Cabinet also approved it in the official gazette in larger public interest.

In the second ordinance, the government has empowered the agencies to attach and confiscate properties and assets of fugitive economic offenders.

The ordinance was promulgated by the Centre in the wake of the recent financial frauds, especially the Rs 13,000 crore PNB scam by diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who later fled the country before the investigating agencies could catch up.

The absence of the accused economic offenders during the investigations poses further problems for the probing agencies. The move is aimed to force the accused to return to the country and face trial.

It is also expected to help banks and other financial institutions to secure a higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders, thus improving the financial health of such institutions.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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