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Rape redefined to include oral sex

Forced oral sex could invite stringent punishment under the new definition of rape, writes Rajnish Sharma.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2006 01:48 IST

Forced oral sex and molestation could invite stringent punishment under the new definition of rape — as suggested by a bill prepared by the Home Ministry. And the word “rape” may be replaced by “sexual assault” in the IPC to broaden the scope of sexual offences.

Sources said the draft bill would soon be placed before the cabinet.

The ministry has decided to change the definition and punishment for rape by amending the IPC. While section 375 of the IPC deals with definition of rape, section 376 prescribes the punishment. Sources said the amendments are going to be made in both the sections.

“There was a view that under the present definition of rape, some crimes of sexual assault got diluted and adequate punishment could not be handed out. Thus, all forms of sexual assault will now be clearly defined and the scope of definition of rape will be increased further,” a senior ministry official said.

Under the new definition of rape, there will be separate clauses dealing with sexual offences committed by policemen, personnel from armed forces, and in hospitals, schools and colleges.

Ministry officials said the punishment for rape — currently between 7 and 10 years — would be made more stringent.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil said several suggestions for punishment — 10 years, life imprisonment and death sentence — had been received and these were being examined.

However, sources said the punishment for various sexual offences under the amended law will be from 10 years to life imprisonment. The bill is likely to be introduced in Parliament’s monsoon session.