A bill, which provides for stringent punishment including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years, will be introduced in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which began on Wednesday.
The decision was taken today at a meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, once approved by Parliament, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21 following an outcry over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and the rape of a woman in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
The Cabinet gave its approval to the draft bill prepared by the Home Ministry, Prasad said.
The bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12 years. Death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years, an official said.
The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
According to the bill, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convict’s “natural life”.
The punishment for gang rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict, the official said.
In case of rape of a girl under 12 years, the minimum punishment will be 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. Gang rape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite the punishment of a jail term for the rest of life or death sentence.
The measure also provides for speedy investigation and trial. The investigation in all cases of rape will have to be mandatorily completed within two months, the official said.
The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.
There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.
It has also been prescribed that a court has to give notice of 15 days to a public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age, the official said.
(With inputs from PTI)