BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh, which reported maximum cases of rape in the country during 2016, became the first state to pass a bill proposing death penalty as maximum punishment to those convicted for raping/gang-raping minors up to the age of 12 years.
The state assembly unanimously passed the Dand Vidhi (Madhya Pradesh Sanshodhan) Vidheyak 2017, which proposes capital punishment for those convicted of raping/gang-raping minors. The development comes four days after the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) Crime in India 2016 data.
The bill which was passed by the MP Assembly after a two-hour debate, proposes amendment in the Indian Penal Code Section 376A to provide a maximum punishment of death penalty or minimum term of 14 years rigorous imprisonment or life imprisonment till death for those convicted for raping minors aged up to 12 years.
The bill further proposes death penalty as maximum punishment or minimum term up to 20 years rigorous imprisonment or life imprisonment till death for those convicted for the gang rape of minors aged up to 12 years.
The bill also proposes stringent punishment to those convicted to disrobing, stalking or sex on the pretext of marriage. Also, it has been proposed to increase the jail term in cases of disrobing or stalking if the convict has committed the offence for the second time or more.
The bill which proposes amendments in Sections 354, 376 and 493 of IPC and Sections 29, 110, 198 and 437 of CrPc will now be sent to Centre, which will be subsequently sent to the President for assent.
“Those who rape minors are not humans, but devils, who don’t have the right to live,” said chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The opposition Congress members, while supporting the bill, however, cautioned against the misuse of the bill. One of the Congress members, Dr Govind Singh also cautioned there was a danger of rape victims being killed by the culprits owing to the death penalty proposal.
The state off late has reported series of rape and gang rape cases, including gang-rape of a 19-year-old daughter of a cop couple in Bhopal's Habibganj area on October 31. All four accused have been arrested in the case.