The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013, bringing amendments to the existing anti-rape laws to ensure safety of women in the country, was on Thursday laid on the table in the Rajya Sabha.
The ordinance approved by the Cabinet and promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee reflects the recommendation of Justice Verma Committee report, making the laws more relevant and stringent to check crimes against women. The ordinance included acid attack, trafficking, sexual harassment at workplace and stalking, under the Sexual Assault Law with enhanced punishments.
Although, Justice Verma committee was against the capital punishment, the ordinance included death penalty for those involved in rarest of rare rape cases causing death or persistent vegetative state.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla laid a copy of the ordinance before the Upper House. The UPA Government is likely to place a Bill incorporating some more provisions to replace the ordinance before the Cabinet this week.
Justice Verma Committee wanted to keep the definition of sexual offences as ‘Rape’, however, the ordinance replaced it by ‘Sexual Assault’ to make it gender neutral and to expand the definition of all types of sexual crimes against women.
Amending the IPC Section 326, the ordinance inserted a new Section ‘326-A’, which deals with heinous crimes of acid attack.