In case of rape of a girl below the age of 12, the punishment will be- death penalty, life imprisonment or a minimum imprisonment of 20 years.
Swagata Raha, a legal researcher with the Center for Child and the Law at the National Law School of India University at Bangalore, wrote an opinion piece Saturday for website the Print, arguing that the death penalty will make it hard for children to come forward and disclose sexual abuse because 94 percent of offenders under India's child protection act are relatives or otherwise known to their victims. A death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years, officials said quoting the ordinance.
In Kathua of Jammu and in Uttar Pradesh's Eta, the incidents of rape with minor girls have shaken the country, after which the government has chose to make strict provision for rape of minor girls.
In his first comments on the incidents of rape of a 17-year-old in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh and the sexual assault and murder of an eight-year-old girl Kathua, Jammu, PM Modi had last week said that no criminal will be spared and daughters will get justice. The Indian Penal Code, the Evidence Act, CrPC and the the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act will stand amended once the ordinance is promulgated after the approval of President Kovind.
"From tomorrow if a person is accused of raping a minor and is convicted, the quantum of punishment will be decided according to the amended act, that is, the maximum punishment for him will be a death sentence", the official added.
The recent protests began after police accused eight Hindu men of raping a Muslim girl in a bid to force her nomad community out of a Hindu-dominated area of Jammu and Kashmir.
The new decree requires trials involving child victims to be completed in two months after an arrest, unusually speedy for India where the wheels of justice turn slowly.More news: Amazon, Best Buy Partner to Sell Smart TVs
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The change in the government's stand comes amid nationwide agitation over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir that has attracted national and worldwide media attention.
These incidents brought back the painful case of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student named Jyoti Singh, who was gang-raped by six men on a bus in Delhi in 2012.
India has the death penalty for the most brutal murders and terror attacks.
Time limit for completion of the trial of all rape cases has also been prescribed to be necessarily completed in 2 months.
In 2007, meanwhile, a government study found that 53 per cent of children surveyed said they had experienced sexual abuse.
The cabinet also approved the establishment of more fast-track courts to deal with rape cases, the appointment of more public prosecutors, and ordered police stations to be equipped with special forensic kits, among other steps.