Ordinance, 2018, which was approved by the cabinet on Saturday and which seeks to provide effective deterrence against rape and instil a sense of security among women, particularly young girls.
President Ram Nath Kovind has signed The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018 to amend Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) thus allowing capital punishment to those who are convicted of raping children upto the age of 12 years.
The death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.Subsequently, a draft Cabinet note was prepared and sent to the Law Ministry. Also, in case of a rape of a 16-year-old, the minimum punishment for the accused has been increased from 10 years to 20 years.
The minimum punishment for rape of children under the age of 16 has been set to 20 years. In this case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, the minimum punishment will be imprisonment for the "rest of life" and the maximum will be the death sentence to convicted.
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 now stand amended.
The deadline for the completion of a trial in all rape cases will be two months.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. Further, there will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang-rape of a girl under 16 years, as per the ordinance.
The recent incidents of cruelty against minors include that of an eight-year-old girl who was gangraped and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district and a nine-year-old who was found dead in Surat after she was allegedly raped for at least eight days before being strangled to death.
Further, all rape trials are to be completed within two months and all appeals in rape cases are to be decided within six months.
The ordinance would provide for attachment and confiscation of the properties of the economic offenders in a bid to bring back defaulters of huge bank loans who flee overseas.