New Delhi, Aug 7: Parliament on Monday passed a bill that allows for death penalty or life imprisonment for people convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years. It also enhances the minimum punishment for rape of women from seven years to 10 years.
The Lok Sabha passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, on July 30, following which it was unanimously passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
The bill will replace an ordinance promulgated by the government in April after outcry over the alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir.
The minimum punishment in cases of rape of women has been increased from the rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years. According to the bill, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convict's "natural life". Gangrape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death.
The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The time limit for the investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within two months. The deadline for the completion of a trial in all rape cases will be two months.