Anti-rape bill to be tabled in Rajya Sabha today
New Delhi: The anti-rape bill, brought against the backdrop of the outrage over Delhi gang-rape, will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill-2013 was passed by Lok Sabha yesterday, provides for natural life term or even death sentence for repeat offenders of rape and other stringent punishment for various offences like stalking, voyeurism and acid attacks.
"I wish to state that we are enacting the strict law to act as a deterrent," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, replying to a nearly six-hour debate on the bill.
The bill seeks to replace an Ordinance promulgated on February 3, which will expire on April 4.
It seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The bill was passed after all amendments moved by opposition and one by UPA constituent NCP for a life-term for perpetrators of acid attacks were defeated.
"Time has come to send out a loud, clear and deterrent signal that the society will not tolerate such errant behaviour," Shinde had said, underlining that the bill was being brought to plug loopholes in the law.
With an aim of providing a strong deterrent against rapes and gang-rapes, the Bill states that an offender can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to life, meaning imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life and with a fine.
It has provisions for handing out death sentence to offenders who may have been convicted earlier for such crimes.
The bill, for the first time, defines stalking and voyeurism as non-bailable offences if repeated for a second time. Perpetrators of acid attack will attract a 10-year jail term.
The bill, for the first time, defines acid attack as a crime and also grants a victim the right to self-defence. It also has provisions for awarding a minimum 10-year jail term for perpetrators of the act.
Moving the bill for consideration, Shinde had sought support of all parties, saying "let us honour the braveheart", referring to the 23-year-old victim of gang-rape by six persons in the national capital last year.