New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati on Friday made it clear that her party will support the new anti-rape bill and not oppose it.
"I would like to make it very clear about this that our party will support the anti-rape bill being brought by the Central Government, be it any form and shape. Our party will support it and not oppose it," Mayawati told media here.
"If we have to give any suggestions, we will give in the all-party meeting, but we will not oppose this bill," she added.
A bill providing for stringent punishment for crimes against women, including rape, and also defining acid attack, stalking and voyeurism as criminal offences, was cleared by the Union Cabinet yesterday.
The bill, brought against the backdrop of the 16th December Delhi gang-rape, provides for minimum jail term of 20 years for rape which may be extended to ``natural life`` of the convict in jail.
There is also provision for death sentence if the victim dies or is left in a ``persistent vegetative state``.
This bill will be discussed by the leaders of all political parties on Monday.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which was cleared by a group of ministers yesterday, proposes to lower the age of consent from 18 years to 16 years, a move opposed by some BJP and Samajwadi Party legislators.
The bill had divided the Cabinet at its special meeting on Tuesday and was referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM) to sort out differences on various aspects of the proposed law.
The GoM finalised the draft on Wednesday amidst the government`s keenness to expedite the bill that will replace an ordinance promulgated on February 3.
It may be recalled that the Centre had constituted the Justice Verma Committee to recommend changes in the laws that deal with crimes against women in wake of nationwide protest against the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012.