New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday promulgated an ordinance to pave way for providing stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
Amid the outrage in the country over growing incidents of rapes of minors, the Union Cabinet on Saturday took a major step forward in a bid to check such crimes and approved several measures to strengthen the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. At a special meeting of the Union Cabinet here under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the promulgation of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, for Death to Child Rapists was cleared.
This will introduce a provision that will help courts to sentence convicts of crimes of the same kinds give the death penalty. The Union Cabinet also decided to put in place measures for speedy investigation and trial of rape cases. The ordinance comes in the wake of an outraged that engulfed the nation against the rape incidents in Kathua, Surat and Unnao. As per news agency ANI, the Union Cabinet approved an Ordinance to be promulgated to provide for stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape particularly of girls below 16 years age and below 12 years of age. The death penalty has been provided for rapists of girls below 12 years of age.
In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment; minimum 20 years’ imprisonment or life imprisonment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided in the Ordinance. The Centre had informed the Supreme Court yesterday that it is considering the amendment of the penal law to introduce death penalty to the culprit. “An ordinance today is the best way to deal with the issue. An amendment bill will have to wait (until July) when the Monsoon session commences,” said a law ministry official.
The Union Cabinet also passed the much-anticipated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, which would now pave way for the arrest of defaulters who have fled the country illegally. It aims to support Indian law authorities in cracking down on those corporate defaulters or individuals who flee the country without paying off existing dues. The bill which was approved at the beginning of March could not be passed earlier due to logjam in the preceding Parliament session. However, with today’s promulgation, the government has brought into effect a law which would help authorities recover dues easily from offenders such as Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, and Vijay Mallya – all of them have escaped the country with large sums of unpaid dues.