Rajasthan women’s panel hails bill on death for raping minors, PUCL says it’s a populist move
Rajasthan Women’s Commission chairperson Suman Sharma welcomed the bill passed in the state assembly that provides for death penalty to those convicted of raping or gang-raping a girl aged up to 12 years, though civil rights activists opposed the movejaipur Updated: Mar 09, 2018 21:49 IST
Rajasthan Women’s Commission chairperson Suman Sharma welcomed the bill passed in the state assembly that provides for death penalty to those convicted of raping or gang-raping a girl aged up to 12 years, though civil rights activists opposed the move.
“We have been demanding this; Rajasthan has become the second state after Madhya Pradesh to propose this bill,” Sharma said. “Now it will create fear among people and curb incidents of rape of children.”
Asked why capital punishment only for raping girls up to 12 years, Sharma said, “Crime records show that rape of girls up to 12 years was more, therefore the bill has been passed. Once the bill is passed, amendments can be made later.”
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, the state recorded 4,034 cases of crime against children, which is 3.8% of the crimes against children (98,344) registered across the country.
The state assembly unanimously passed on Friday the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan amendment) Bill, 2018.
Opposing the bill, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Rajasthan president Kavita Shrivastava said, “We do not accept capital punishment for rape and gang rape of girls up to 12 years.” She said the Justice Verma Committee was against death sentence even in the “rarest of rare” rape cases and that 135 countries had given up death penalty.
“It is a populist step. Child abuse is a big problem, but death penalty is not the solution. The solution is to make children aware; silence and denial by families should be stopped,” Shrivastava said. “PUCL will appeal to the President not to sign this bill.”
State Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Manan Chaturvedi said, “It is a good move by chief minister Vasundhara Raje for protecting girls. I want that such a law should be made throughout the country.”
Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee vice president Archana Sharma said the bill should also include girls and women above 12 years. “Just by making a law will not create fear, but the government should have willpower and administration has to be alert. In rape cases, circumstantial evidence plays an important role in proving the crime.”
The Madhya Pradesh bill, passed a year ago, is yet to get the President’s seal.
Archana Sharma said, “Just by making a law, government should not think that girls are safe; it has to provide safe atmosphere to them.”