NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, that provides for stringent punishment, including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
The amendment replaces the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance promulgated on April 21 after the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua and another woman in Unnao.
As per the Act, those convicted of raping girls below 12 years will get death sentence. The minimum punishment in case of rape of women is up from seven-year rigorous imprisonment to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment. In cases were victims are below 16 years, the minimum punishment is up from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life.
The punishment for gang rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict. Also, there will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16.
People convicted of raping girls below 12 will face a minimum punishment of 20-year jail, which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. Gang rape of a girl under 12 will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death, the Act stated.
The Act prescribes the time limit for investigation of all cases of rape, saying it has to be mandatorily completed within two months. The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months.
The President’s assent, given Saturday, came after Parliament approved the amendments to the law last week.