Rape within home: Ministry wants stricter punishment

Rape within home

The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is planning to pitch for the inclusion of a provision for increased punishment for acts of rape by people in positions of authority in home before the three-member Justice J S Verma Commission. It will be similar to the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act 2012, introduced on November 14, to check aggravated sexual assault on children by persons supposed to protect them.

The Act defines "aggravated sexual assault" as sexual assault by a police officer in his jurisdiction, a public servant taking advantage of his position, manager or a person of the jail staff or remand home. It proposed a jail-term up to 10 years. "We will examine the option to include rape by family members under the definition of aggravated sexual assault like has been done in the law against sexual offences on children," said WCD secretary Prem Narain. The ministry also hopes to pass the pending legislation against sexual harassment in workplace in the next House session.

According to data from Delhi Police, out of the 665 rapes reported in 2012, 189 were committed by family members or relatives. Though the existing rape law prescribes a 10-year jail-term instead of the usual seven years if the offender is a policeman, public servant, a staff of a jail or remand home, or if the victim is pregnant, it does not have anything specific against cases where family members are the rape accused.

The ministry in its meeting with NGOs, legal experts and jurists also received suggestions to widen the ambit of "rape" to include various types of sexual crimes and a standard operating procedure for the police and state to support victims of acid attack. They urged the political parties not give tickets to persons with such criminal backgrounds.

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