The Rajasthan Assembly on Friday passed a bill in which stringent punishment, including the death penalty, can be awarded to those found guilty of raping girls below 12 years of age. A similar law was passed in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly on December 4 last year. Rajasthan is now the second state to have such law after Madhya Pradesh.
Soon after Madhya Pradesh passed the bill, the Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan government had hinted that it would move a Bill to provide death penalty to those convicted of raping minors.
The bill was tabled in the Rajasthan Assembly on Wednesday. According to an India Experess report, the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018, seeks to add section 376-AA in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which will be defined as: "Punishment for rape on a woman up to twelve years of age. Whoever commits rape on a woman up to twelve years of age shall be punished with death, or rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than fourteen years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life, and shall also be liable to fine".
The Madhya Pradesh government was, in a way, forced to introduce such a bill as the state came under severe criticism over rising cases of rapes. The state has topped sexual offences list in the country over the last decade.
As per the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, cases of crime against children have become rampant in Rajasthan in the recent past.
Rajasthan recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8 percent of the crimes against children (98,344) registered across the country. In 2015, the state had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children.