The Lok Sabha on July 30, 2018 passes the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 which replaces the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21 this year.
Main Features of the Bill
- This bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12 years and death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.
- As per the bill, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
- The punishment for gangrape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict. The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial.
- The time limit for investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatory completed within two months.
- The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed, the bill says, adding that there will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gangrape of a girl under 16 years.
- A court has to give notice of 15 days to a public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding on bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
According to the Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, the Bill has far reaching consequences and is deterrent to the culprits.
- The fast track special courts will be set up which will exclusively deal with rape cases and there is also a provision that the court hearing in rape cases should be presided by a woman judge and statement in cases will also be recorded by woman police officer.
- He also said that, for quality of investigation, forensic kits will be provided at all police stations and hospitals and special forensic labs will be set up in every state.