Ordinance Approved on Death Penalty for Rape of Child under 12 years
Following a huge outrage of Indians regarding the increasing incidents of child rapes across the country, especially the Kathua and Unnao incident, the ruling government has introduced an ordinance that introduces capital punishment of the rapist, where the victims are less than 12 years. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 stands to amend the existing regulations such as The Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The important aspects of the Ordinance are as follows:
- The investigation and the court trials of the rape cases should be compulsorily completed within 2 months of time. In order to support speedy investigation and trials, new fast track courts will be setup and the forensic materials required for investigating the rape cases will be made available extensively in all major hospitals and the police stations.
- Gang rape of victims under 12 years of age will result in either death penalty for the convicts or imprisonment for life
- Rape of victims under 12 years of age will result in either death penalty for the convicts or imprisonment for life or 20 years.
- Gang rape of victims under 16 years of age will result in imprisonment for life
- Rape of victims under 16 years of age will result in either imprisonment for life or 20 years. Previously, the punishment was 10 years of imprisonment.
- Minimum punishment for rape accused has been increased from 7 years to 10 years of imprisonment. This can also be extended to life imprisonment.
- No anticipatory bails allowed for rape accused of victims less than 16 years of age.
While the whole country has welcomed the ordinance, there are also other arguments being made in this regard. There are one set of people, who has made comments as to why the death penalty is applicable for only the cases involving victims less than 12 years of age. They seek to make death penalty common for all the rape cases, considering that the physiological or the psychological impact of the rape victims would be the same, irrespective of their age.
On the other hand, the Child Rights Commission of India has opposed the ordinance stating that the government has failed to take any steps in increasing the conviction rates and hence introducing the ordinance won’t make any difference. According to the data from National Crime Records Bureau, 95% of the rape convicts are their own family members. According to them, introducing death penalty will only reduce the instances of reporting any rape incidents and will not work favorably for reducing the crime rates. Appropriate awareness programs must be introduced to change the mindsets of the people.
What is your opinion about this? Do you welcome the ordinance? Feel free to drop in your comments…