Tougher anti-rape law gets Rajya Sabha approval

Parliament on Thursday approved the updated anti-rape law which provides for stringent punishment to offenders of sexual violence, with the government successfully managing a hurried nod to it in the Rajya Sabha, two days after the Lok Sabha passed it.

The criminal laws (amendment) bill was passed in the upper house within two hours, though many members protested the haste in getting it passed, but the government justified the urgency citing time constraint.

Replying to the discussion, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said,“the bill is important for the dignity of women and we had promised it after the horrific incident of December 16.”

The bill, for the first time, provides for death penalty in rape cases, where the victim is left in a permanent vegetative state and also for repeat offenders.  Stalking and voyeurism have been made criminal offences for the first time.

The criminal laws (amendment) bill, commonly known as the anti-rape bill, also makes it mandatory for hospitals, government or private, to provide first-aid and free-of-cost treatment for victims of sexual assault and acid attacks.

The passage of the bill came as a relief for the government, which was caught between frequent disruptions and a looming deadline of getting the bill passed in both houses before Parliament goes into a month-long recess after Friday.


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