Jaipur: In a significant development, the Rajasthan State Assembly on Friday cleared an amendment bill for death penalty for the culprits in the rape cases involving girls below 12 years of age.
With this Rajasthan has become the second state after Madhya Pradesh to pass the bill.
The Rajasthan government had on Tuesday tabled the bill to award death penalty to those found guilty of raping girls below 12 years of age.
The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018, seeks to add section 376-AA in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which will be defined as: “Punishment for rape on a woman up to twelve years of age. Whoever commits rape on a woman up to twelve years of age shall be punished with death, or rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than fourteen years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine”.
A similar provision, 376-DD, was added for gang-rape.
In the ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’ for bringing in the Bill, the Rajasthan government said, “It has come to the notice of the State Government that the offence relating to child rape and child gang-rape are taking place every now and then. Such crimes are heinous and turn the life of the victim into hell.”
The statement added, “It is the prime duty of the society and the State to protect its offspring against all odds and give them an environment conducive for their mental and physical development. Therefore, such offences need to be dealt with an iron hand. The State Government is of the considered view that to protect the girl child up to twelve years of age from such heinous crimes, a deterrent punishment which may extend to the death of the offender should be provided for.”
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, in a reply to the Budget debate in the Assembly in February, had announced that the state government will bring in more stringent punishment “including capital punishment”, for rape of girls below 12 years.
In December last year, Madhya Pradesh had become the first state to pass such a Bill.
Last month, Haryana cabinet too gave its nod to similar amendments in IPC.