Government clears death for rape-murder, 20 years in jail for gangrape accused

FP

The decision to issue an ordinance was taken despite reservations at the highest level of the government about the propriety of such a move so close to the Budget session of Parliament which begins February 21.

Sources told The Indian Express that the government has decided to withdraw from Parliament the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012, and introduce an amended bill which will be a copy of the ordinance. The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012, introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 4, 2012, is pending with the standing committee.

Many clauses of the ordinance are similar to the bill and a section in the government felt that issuing an ordinance on an issue pending in Parliament could be a breach of the legislature.

Sources said the ordinance provides for a new crime of gangrape, which will be punishable with a minimum prison term of 20 years provided it is proved that more than one person was involved in the crime.

Anyone convicted for throwing acid will be jailed for a minimum of 10 years that may extend to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10 lakh.

A man who rapes his estranged wife during separation can be jailed for seven years while those convicted for the new crimes of stalking, voyeurism and intentionally touching a girl or woman with sexual intent will get a minimum jail term of one year.

The ordinance also provides for an amendment in the Indian Penal Code to define trafficking, which will be punishable with a jail term of no less than seven years and may extend to life imprisonment. Employment of trafficked persons will also be a penal crime now.

Public servants who knowingly don't act to prevent rape or refuse to take cognisance of a rape case will be jailed for between one and five years. The ordinance also says that a rape victim's moral character can't be questioned during trial.

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