Haryana assembly passes bill seeking death penalty for rape of girls up to 12
Members of the opposition in the House objected to certain provisions of the amendment Bill before it was passed unanimously. The Bill will, however, require the assent of the President to become a law.india Updated: Mar 16, 2018 09:50 IST
In a move to make the law more stringent, the Haryana assembly on Thursday passed a Bill to make amendments in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections pertaining to sexual offences against women and children in the state.
The Criminal Law (Haryana amendment), Bill 2018 entails enhancement of the punishment, including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls up to 12 years of age.
Members of the opposition in the House objected to certain provisions of the amendment Bill before it was passed unanimously. The amendment Bill will, however, require the assent of the President to become a law.
Congress legislature party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhry said the amendment proposing death penalty for those convicted of raping or gangraping women up to age of 12 needs a re-look.
“Rape is rape whether it is with grown up women or women below the age of 12. It is a violation of woman’s body. It’s worse than murder. And Haryana is now known as the rape capital of the country. The House needs to discuss this provision and remove this age cap. It will act as a big deterrent. The age cap is an invitation that if one rapes a woman above the age of 12, then he will be saved from death penalty,’’ she said.
Another woman MLA, Geeta Bhukkal of the Congress, endorsed Choudhry’s argument saying the age cap should be done away with as it could lead to killing of rape victims by the perpetrators.
Touching another aspect related to crime against women, the Congress MLA said it was disappointing to know that women complainants approaching all-women police stations were harassed by the officials and forced to enter into compromise with the accused. “There should be a video recording of complaints made by the women so that they cannot be coerced to get into a compromise,’’ she said.
INLD MLA Parminder Singh Dhull demanded these changes should be done right away in the House.
‘APPOINT HIGH-RANK IOs’
Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal said there was a need to put officers in the rank of superintendent of police (SP) or deputy superintendent of police (DSP) as investigating officers (IOs) since punishment entails death penalty. “One cannot expect low-ranking personnel to investigate such cases effectively. Also, we need to deliberate the ramifications of the death penalty clause. I suggest a committee of the House be constituted to mull over these aspects,’’ the Congress MLA said.
Soon thereafter, assembly speaker Kanwar Pal sought ayes and noes for voting on the Bill and declared that treasury benches have succeeded. This invited a protest from INLD MLA, Zakir Hussain who said: “This Bill has been passed unanimously. It’s not correct to say that treasury benches have succeeded. We all have lent out support to the Bill,’’ Hussain said.
Congress MLA Karan Dalal also clarified that they were in support of the amendment Bill but only wanted the suggestions made by them to be incorporated.
The Bill passed would amend Section 376A, 376D, 354 and 354 D (2) of the IPC.
The amendment (section 376AA) would mean death penalty or rigorous imprisonment of not less than 14 years extending to life imprisonment for those convicted of raping or gangraping a woman up to 12 years.
Another new provision is section 376-DA for a woman up to 12 years who is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention. Now each perpetrator shall be deemed to have committed the offence of rape and will be punished with death or rigorous imprisonment for a term which will not be less than 20 years but which may extend to life imprisonment and with fine. Such a fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim. Any fine imposed under this section will be paid to the victim.
Another amendment (section 354) would now entail that whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which will not be less than two years but may extend up to seven years and shall also liable to fine.
Also, under Section 354D (2), whoever commits the offence or stalking will be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which will not be less than three years, but may extend to seven years and will also be liable to fine.
AMENDMENT The Bill will, however, require the assent of the President to become a law