- A Bill awarding a maximum sentence of death to those convicted for raping girls below 12 years of age was passed by Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha approving the proposed law by voice vote. The Lok Sabha had cleared it on July 30.
- It replaces the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance that was promulgated on April 21, following a public outrage over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and the rape of a minor from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
- The amendments have been made to the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
- Accordingly, the minimum sentence in cases of rape of women has been increased from seven to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.
- In cases involving girls below 16 years, the minimum punishment has gone up from 10 to 20 years, which is extendable to life imprisonment.
- The law also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The probe has to be completed within two months.
- The deadline for completion of trial in all rape cases will also be two months, while a six-month limit has been set for disposal of appeals.
- There will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang-rape of an under-16 girl.