Anti-rape law delayed; no consensus in Cabinet?
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet deferred taking a discussion on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill after consensus could not be reached over some key provisions in the bill.
As per reports, among the points of disagreement is the reduction of age of consensual sex from 18 to 16 and use of the word ‘rape’ in the bill – opponents feel that the bill should be gender neutral.
The Law Ministry has also issued the provision on the issue of voyeurism according to which if someone takes pictures of a woman with her permission, it would not amount to an offence.
The fresh Bill was to replace the ordinance on crimes against women promulgated last month. The proposal was to replace the provision in the ordinance which has subscribed life imprisonment as the maximum punishment for those in authority committing rape.
The person in authority has been described as a police officer, a doctor or a staffer of a hospital, a jailer or a warden of a remand home.
The fresh bill was also to replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012 introduced in the Lok Sabha in December last.
The bill retains the provision that if rape leads to death of the victim or leaves her in a vegetative state, it can attract death penalty.
While the ordinance said the statement of the victim may be videographed, the bill makes the provision mandatory.
It also makes the presence of a woman officer - whether police or civil - to be present when the statement of the victim is being recorded.
With PTI inputs