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Govt to reduce age of consent for sex from 18 to 16, say sources

Mar 05, 2013 08:36 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: The government is reportedly finalising the changes to the Criminal Law Amendment Bill and sources say that it has decided to lower the age of consent for sex from 18 years to 16 years. Also, acid attack and stalking will be considered sexual crimes, the sources said. Sources added that the new note also brings back the word 'rape' instead of 'sexual assault'. The ordinance had used the word 'sexual assault', making it gender-neutral. However, replacing it with the word 'rape' will make it women-centric.

The two controversial issues of marital rape and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) are, however, unlikely to be touched upon.

Moreover, brutal rapes that inflict bodily damage will be treated as rarest of rare and will be punishable by death. Also, hospitals, nursing homes, private or public medical care centres will have to provide treatment to women victims and failure to do so will be punishable under law. In a bid to make the law women friendly, the draft bill suggests that only a woman police officer will take the statement of the victim of the sexual crime.

The said changes incorporate suggestions of the Parliamentary panel and the anti-rape ordinance.

The draft of the bill has been readied by the government to replace the recently-promulgated criminal law amendment ordinance. Official sources said the Union Cabinet is expected to discuss the draft of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 in its next meeting.