The ordinance will allow courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age.
The Union Cabinet on Saturday approved an ordinance to allow courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age.
Official sources said that the criminal law amendment ordinance seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to introduce a new provision to sentence convicts of such crimes punishment of death.
The move comes against the backdrop of the alleged rape and murder of girls in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua and Gujarat's Surat district recently.
New fast-track courts will be set up to deal with such cases and special forensic kits for rape cases will be given to all police stations and hospitals in the long term, according to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018.
All cases of rape has to be mandatorily completed within two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.
It stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 and 12 years.
Death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years, with the minimum jail term being 20 years which may go up to life in prison.
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,
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 gangrape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict, the officials said.
There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.
The President last night also promulgated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance that will allow the government to confiscate properties and assets of loan defaulters who flee the country.