The Lok Sabha passed a Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill by a voice note on Monday, 30th July 2018 making the offence of raping a girl below the age of 12 years punishable with death. The aim of this bill is to bring some new amendments in the provisions of Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure, The Indian Evidence Act and also, in the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act. The new bill has also replaced the earlier ordinance which was bought in the picture by the Central Government in the incident of Kathua rape and murder case. In April 2018, a minor eight-year-old girl ‘Asifa Bano’ was abducted and brutally raped then murdered, the incident shook the whole nation and there was immense need of laws for such monsters.
Recent Amendments in Indian Penal Code
- 10-years imprisonment for rape: Before this amendment, the punishment for rape of women provided under Section 376(1) of IPC was 7 years, but now it’s sought to be 10 years and also, the punishment may be extended to life imprisonment.
- Punishment for Rape of child below 16 years of age: Now, a new subsection (3) is sought to be added in Section 376 which makes the offence of raping a girl below 16 years, punishable with imprisonment for a minimum period of 20 years, also the punishment may extend up to life imprisonment.
- Death penalty: The new amendment focuses on inserting Section 376 DB which makes the gang rape of a girl below 12 years of age punishable with the death penalty.
- Further, the previous existing sections 228A is sought to be amended to include the offences such as 'bar of disclosure of victim’s identity' in cases of Section 376(3), 376 DA, and 376 DB.
- Also, the amendment needs to be made in the section 166A of Indian Penal Code to provide for punishment to Public Servants whosoever fails in registering complaints in the cases of newly inserted sections.
Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure
- As per new sub (1A) that is sought to be included in Section 173 of the CrPC, investigation in the newly inserted sections is to be completed within a period of 2 months from the date of the complaint.
- Section 438 of the CrPC is likely to be amended, which grants for anticipatory bail. As per the new amendments made in the criminal laws, no anticipatory bail can be granted to the person for the new offences inserted in the law.
- Now, even the regular bail applications that are being filed under Section 439 of CrPC will only be heard after the period of 15 days, by giving notice to the Public Prosecutor.
- To clarify the nature of newly inserted offences which are non-bailable and cognizable, and are to be tried by the Session’s Court; the First Schedule of the Code of Criminal Procedure needs to be amended.
- Under the Evidence Act, Sections A is sought to be amended so as to include the newly inserted sections.
Most of the members of the Lok Sabha supported the Bill, but few points were raised by Pinaki Misra, BJD MP. According to the MP, ”The newly created offences should be gender neutral, which means same punishment to be given to the offenders who commit the crime on boys under the age of 16 or 12 years. Doing so will attract lesser punishments under the POCSO Act. He also suggested that the bill be should be sent to the Selection Committee for any further examination."
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