After Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan Govt Passes Bill To Award Death Penalty For Raping Girls 12 Years Or Younger
After Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan becomes the second state to unanimously pass an amendment bill on Friday that makes rape of up to 12 years or below an offence punishable by death.
Seeking to amend the Indian Penal Code, State Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria had introduced The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) bill, 2018 in the assembly, which was passed in the House by a voice vote following a debate.
The Home Minister termed the bill as “progressive legislation” aimed at protecting the girl child by laying down deterrent punishment including death sentence to the offenders.
“The bill will become a law after it gets the presidential assent. The Rajasthan Assembly has conveyed its feelings to the president. We hope that a similar initiative will be taken by other states and even by the Centre,” said Mr Kataria after the House rejected a motion moved by some Congress members to circulate the bill for eliciting public opinion.
What are the new sections added?
Reportedly, two new sections, 376-AA and 376-DD have been inserted in the bill by the Rajasthan Home Minister, Gulab Chand Kataria.
“We have made two amendments: added life sentence and life imprisonment for convicts in offences against girls below 12 years of age. We have also made a provision that convict cannot leave the prison for life even after completing 14 years of the sentence,” Kataria said.
The new section 377-AA provides that whosoever commit rape on a ‘woman’ up to 12 years of age will face death penalty or rigorous him for not less than 14 years, with also being liable to fine. After serving 14 years behind bars, the defendant would be eligible for parole.
The jail term may also extend for life, by giving natural life prison sentence that will make him serve rest of their life in jail, i.e. until the day they die.
376-DD makes a similar provision for gang-rape in which each person of the gang shall be deemed guilty of the offence, making them punishable by death or rigorous imprisonment for not less than 20 years of age and being liable for fine as well. Nevertheless, the jail may be extended for the remainder of the convicts’ lives.
Kataria told the assembly that the apex court expressed concern about rising cases of child abuse and rape in the Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association vs Union of India case and hoped that Parliament would bring in appropriate legislation urgently.
“Parliament is yet to bring in such legislation, though Madhya Pradesh has passed a similar bill which is pending with the president. We have not made much change in the bill,” said Kataria, instructing the assembly.
The final step will be to send the bill to the Centre which will need the assent of the President to implement the law.
The primary reason that the Rajasthan government gave for introducing such an amendment is the rise in crimes reported against children in the state.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2016 report, the state recorded 4034 such cases in 2016, which was 3.8% of the crimes against children registered across the country. Moreover, previous to that year, the state registered 3689 cases of crimes against children.
According to an official statement reported by News 18, “Such crimes are heinous and turn the life of the victim into hell. It is the prime duty of the society and the state to protect its offspring against all the odds and give them an environment conducive to their mental and physical development. Therefore, such offences need to be dealt with an iron hand.”