New Delhi: India will join a club of eight countries with a sexual offender database to monitor and track those convicted of such crimes. The Cabinet on Saturday said that the National Crime Records Bureau will maintain a national database and profile of sexual offenders.
This data will be regularly shared with states and Union Territories for tracking, monitoring and investigation, including verification of antecedents by police.
While the registry in the US is public, in other countries like Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom, where such data of convicted sex offenders is maintained, it is purely for the consumption of the law enforcement authorities.
It is not clear if the Indian database will be made public or not, as per reports.
Cabinet nod to Ordinance providing death penalty for raping girls below 12
Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet on Saturday approved an ordinance to provide stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of rape of girls below 12 years.
New fast-track courts will be set up to deal with such cases and special forensic kits for rape cases will be given to all police stations and hospitals in the long term, according to the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance cleared by a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 and 12 years. Death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years, officials said quoting the ordinance, as per PTI.
The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment, they said.
In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convict's "natural life".
The punishment for the gang-rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict, the officials added. Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided with the minimum jail term being 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence.
The Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act will stand amended once the ordinance is promulgated after the approval of President Ram Nath Kovind, officials further said.
The measure also provides for speedy investigation and trial. The time limit for investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within two months. The deadline for the completion of the trial in all rape cases will be two months and a six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.
There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.
(With PTI inputs)