Govt accepts 18 as age of consent for sex in anti-rape Bill

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Women Safety
New Delhi, Mar 18: BJP today said the anti-rape Bill should be passed without any delay and that the government has agreed to its demand for making 18 years the age of consent for sex in the proposed legislation.

"BJP is in favour of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill and wants it to be passed without any delay. We wanted the age of consent to be 18 years. The government has agreed to this. Now, we want the Bill to be passed without delay," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

Party sources said BJP conveyed its suggestions for changes in the Bill during the all-party meeting held here this morning and is hopeful these will be incorporated in the Bill that is likely to be introduced for discussion and passage tomorrow in the Lok Sabha.

The sources said a consensus has been reached on watering down and putting certain safeguards in the Bill on voyeurism, stalking, disrobing and a police personnel's refusal to file an FIR. Both voyeurism and stalking have been made bailable offences when the crime is committed for the first time.

"For voyeurism, the punishment will be imprisonment from one to three years for first-time offenders and three to seven years for subsequent offences," a party leader said.

For stalking, imprisonment of upto three years for first- time offenders and upto five years for subsequent offences has been envisaged in the Bill. While the anti-rape Ordinance had a provision for imprisonment in case of disrobing of a woman in public, now it is a crime even if a woman is disrobed in private without consent.

A cop will not be suspended if he does not file an FIR in cases of voyeurism and stalking but this action will follow in case of refusal to file an FIR in case of rape.

PTI

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