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  India   All India  23 Apr 2018  President Ram Nath Kovind nod for death to child rapists

President Ram Nath Kovind nod for death to child rapists

Published : Apr 23, 2018, 1:16 am IST
Updated : Apr 23, 2018, 1:16 am IST

Kovind also gives assent to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance.

The rape cases in Kathua, Unnao and Surat sparked nationwide outrage following which pressure mounted on the Centre to amend laws. (Photo: PTI)
 The rape cases in Kathua, Unnao and Surat sparked nationwide outrage following which pressure mounted on the Centre to amend laws. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday promulgated the criminal law amendment ordinance,  paving the way for providing stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.

Earlier around Saturday midnight, he had also promulgated the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance that will allow the government to confiscate properties and assets of loan defaulters who flee the country. The President promulgated the economic offenders ordinance within hours of it being cleared by the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening. The President’s nod to the ordinance related to rape convicts, came after the Union Cabinet’s approval on Saturday for tightening the law against people involved in rape, following the public outcry over cases of sexual assault and murder of minors in Kathua and Surat and the rape of a girl in Unnao.

“Whereas Parliament is not in session and the President is satisfied that the circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action. Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 123 of the Constitution, the President is pleased to promulgate the following ordinance,” the gazette notification said.

The ordinance stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 years. Death sentence has been for rapists of girls under 12 years.

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.

According to the ordinance, 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 the life, which means jail term till the convict’s “natural life”.

The punishment for gangrape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.

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.

Gangrape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death, it said.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act stand amended with the promulgation of the ordinance after the approval of the President.

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 trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on March 12, but could not be taken up for discussion and passage due to the logjam in Parliament over various issues. The ordinance seeks to confiscate properties of economic offenders like diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who have left the country to avoid facing criminal prosecution. The provisions of the ordinance will apply for economic offenders who refuse to return, persons against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for a scheduled offence as well as willful bank loan defaulters with outstanding of over Rs 100 crore.

Tags: ram nath kovind, child rapists ordinance, death penalty