Rajasthan Assembly has passed Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018 by voice vote to amend Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 to add provisions providing for death penalty for those convicted of raping girls of 12 years and below.
The bill will become a law after it gets the approval of the President. With this, Rajasthan became the second state in the country after Madhya Pradesh, approving the death sentence for those convicted of such rapes. Both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party. In December last year, Madhya Pradesh had become the first state to pass such a bill. The Haryana cabinet has also given its nod to make similar amendments.
The Bill aims at protecting girl child by legally establishing disincentive punishment, including death sentence, to convicts of rape of girls below 12. It inserts sections 376-AA and 376-DD in IPC, 1860. These sections provide, that whoever commits rape or gang-rape on a girl up to 12 years of age shall be punishable with death or rigorous and uncompromising imprisonment. The capital punishment under it will be not less than 14 years and 20 years respectively for sections and which may extend to imprisonment for life, which means imprisonment for remaining of offenders’ whole life, and that too with fine.
According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, cases of crimes against children, especially girls have shown a steady rise in Rajasthan. The state has recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8% of crimes against children (98,344) registered across the country. It stands fourth in crime against women category. In 2015, the state had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children, increased by 345 in a year under review. State police had registered 728 cases of child rape in 2015, which increased to 858 in 2016.
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria told reporters that two amendments have been made in the bill.
“We have made two amendments: added life sentence and life imprisonment for convicts in offenses against girls below 12 years of age. We have also made a provision that convict cannot leave the prison for life even after completing 14 years of the sentence,” Kataria said.