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Rajasthan passes bill awarding death sentence for rape of girls aged 12 yrs or below

india Updated: Mar 09, 2018 19:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh,Rape

The amendment bill found unanimous support cutting across party lines. (AFP File Photo/Representative image)

Rajasthan on Friday became the second state in the country to pass a bill proposing capital punishment for rape and gang rape of girls aged 12 years and below.

A similar bill passed by Madhya Pradesh in November 2017 is still awaiting the President’s assent.

The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan amendment) Bill-2018, which found unanimous support cutting across party lines, was introduced in the state assembly on March 6, 2018. The amendment was carried out through the insertion of two sections (376-AA and 376-DD) into the Indian Penal Code-1860.

Section 376-AA states that whoever rapes a girl of up to 12 years of age shall be punished with death or rigorous imprisonment for a term that shall not be less than 14 years but may extend to the remainder of his natural life. The convict will also be liable to pay a fine.

Section 376-DD – on the other hand – specifies that those found guilty of gang-raping a girl of up to 12 years shall be punished with death, or awarded rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years and extending to the remainder of their natural lives. The convicts will also be liable to pay a fine.

Home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said the government decided to take this step in view of increasing sexual assaults against minors in recent times. “It is the prime duty of the state and society to protect children against all odds and provide them with an environment conducive for their mental and physical development. This is why such heinous offences need to be dealt with an iron hand,” he explained. “The state government is of the considered view that it must extend a deterrent punishment extending the death penalty to such offenders.”

The National Crime Records Bureau-2016 report ranked Rajasthan in the fifth position in crimes against women, with 27,422 cases being reported in 2016. The total number of rape cases registered in 2016 came up to 3,656 – half a dozen of which involved children under six years of age; 37 pertained to kids under 12; 195 were against those below 16; and 539 concerned those between 16 and 18.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 18:43 IST