Jammu and Kashmir is all set to become the first state of the country to work out on severe punishment-hanging and imprisonment till death-for rapists.
In the wake of the Delhi gangrape and the nation-wide clamour for harsh punishment, Kashmir's law minister Ali Muhammad Sagar has prepared a baseline for a new stringent law with the help of state law secretary GH Tantray and advocate general MI Qadri.
"In our report, we have suggested capital punishment in cases of gangrape and rape of a minor. It should be made non-bailable like those arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Narcotic Drugs Prevention Act," Qadri told the Hindustan Times.
"If a known person to the victim like teacher, brother etc rapes, its breach of trust of highest order. There should be exemplary punishment of death in such cases," said Qadri.
Fresh suggestions are being made to amend the Ranbir Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act wherein bail, investigation and trail procedures will be reformulated for the state, which has its own constitution.
Qadri and Tantary's report has suggested minimum of 10 years and life imprisonment for rapists. "Life imprisonment means till life," said Qadri.
The report has suggested same punishment for those who attack women with acid with an aim to deface her.
Besides, the preliminary report has stressed that a victim should only make her statement once before a magistrate to ensure she is not put through any mental agony.
"If an FIR is lodged in a rape case and the victim family decides to compromise for monetary or any other benefits, a case will be lodged against the family itself. A rape will be treated as an act against the society," he added.
Besides deployment of female cop, the fast track courts will complete the trial in four months, suggests the report.
The state law ministry has sent a copy of fresh proposal to six lawyers in Jammu and Kashmir regions each for their suggestions. The law departments of Kashmir and Jammu universities have also been intimated.
"There is need to have civil society onboard for amendments. We hope to get suggestions within two weeks. In case, there are no suggestions, we will go ahead with the proposal prepared by us," said Qadri.
At present, the state law proposes 10 years to life imprisonment for a rapist. The new draft will come up before the state cabinet first and then before legislators probably in upcoming budget session for a bill or ordinance.