The Centre has given its nod to an ordinance to amend the existing Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act, allowing courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping minors.
President Ram Nath Kovind has also promulgated The Criminal Law amendment ordinance, 2018 to amend POCSO Act to pave way for the death penalty.
Key features of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, for death to child rapists.
* Minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from the rigorous imprisonment of 7 to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
* In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which shall mean imprisonment till that person’s natural life.
* The punishment for the gang-rape of a girl under 16 years of age will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of the 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 a gang-rape of a girl below 12 years, punishment will be imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence.
The Cabinet has approved an Ordinance to be promulgated to provide for stringent punishments for perpetrators of rape. pic.twitter.com/PSKv8L5cW2
* Time limit for investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within 2 months.
* Time limit for completion of the trial of all rape cases has also been prescribed and it 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:
* It has been prescribed that there will 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 provided that 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.
* 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.
Assistance to victims:
* The present scheme of One Stop Centres for assistance to the victim to be extended to all districts in the country.