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Mehbooba Mufti welcomes ordinance on death penalty for rape of minors, says will bring a similar law in J&K

The Union Cabinet on Saturday approved an ordinance to provide stringent punishment, including the death penalty, for those convicted of rape of girls below 12 years.

Mehbooba Mufti welcomes ordinance on death penalty for rape of minors, says will bring a similar law in J&K
Pic courtesy: Twitter/@MehboobaMufti

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday welcomed the Union Cabinet decision to bring an ordinance to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age. She also asserted that her government will bring a similar law in the state.

Plus, she welcomed other stringent amendments brought in relevant laws by the Union Cabinet to ensure speedy investigation and trial in rape cases. "This will go a long way in curbing the level of harassment against women and girl child in the country," Mehbooba said.

She reiterated that her government intends to bring in a similar law in the state to put an end to crimes against women. Earlier, on April 12, Mehbooba had said her government would enact a new law to make rape of minors punishable by death, amid outrage over the alleged rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua district in January 2018. 

The Union Cabinet on Saturday cleared Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 and 12 years. The 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)