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Recent Amendments in Rape Laws in India

Recent Amendments in Rape Laws in India

Rape laws in India has been amended yet again. Though the common understanding is that following the Public outrage on Rape of minors in various parts of country, only POSCO Act has been amended, that is further than truth. The ordinance which has been promulgated has made amendments in provisions of S. 376 of IPC, Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act. The biggest feature of this ordinance is that it provides death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years of age. Beyond that also, many other stringent penal provisions for rape has been promulgated with the said amendment ordinance. The same has been signed by the President and has now become the law of the land. The same would be ratified in Parliament in coming Session.

The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018, amends following sections of Indian Penal Code as well as that of Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

Salient Features of the Ordinance

• Minimum Punishment for Rape made Ten Years
• Minimum punishment of twenty years to a person committing rape on a woman aged below 16.
• Minimum Punishment of 20 years rigorous imprisonment and maximum Death penalty/Life Imprisonment for committing rape on a girl aged below 12.
• Fine imposed shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
• Police officer committing rape anywhere shall be awarded rigorous imprisonment of minimum ten years.
• Investigation in rape cases to be completed within two months.
• No Anticipatory bail can be granted to a person accused of rape of girls of age less than sixteen years.
• Appeals in rape cases to be disposed within six months

Amendment to IPC Section 376 IPC:

• Minimum Punishment for Rape has been made Ten Years. It was Seven Years earlier. The Maximum punishment remains the same, i.e. Life imprisonment.
• A new clause (3) has been added to Section 376, which prescribes the Minimum punishment of twenty years to a person committing rape on a woman under Sixteen years of Age.
• A new Section 376AB has been inserted which prescribes the minimum punishment of twenty years rigorous imprisonment to a person committing rape on a woman less than twelve years of Age. Such a person can be awarded capital sentence as well.
• Section 376DA and 376DB provides minimum punishment of life imprisonment for persons involved in gang rape of woman aged less than 16 years and 12 years respectively.
• Death penalty is also prescribed for persons involved in gang rape of a girl of age less than 12 year.
• Section 376 (2) (a), the sentence “within the limits of the police station to which such police officer is appointed” has been omitted. This omission implies, no matter where a Police officer commits rape, he is to be punished with rigorous imprisonment of minimum ten years.

Amendment to CrPC

• The investigation in relation to in all Rape cases may be completed within three months from the date on which the information was recorded by the officer in charge of the police station.
• The provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure have also been amended to insert a subsection which prescribes six months time to dispose of an appeal in rape cases.
• No Anticipatory bail can be granted to a person accused of rape of girls of age less than sixteen years.
• New Sub Section has been added to Section 439 which mandates presence of informant or any person authorized by him at the time of hearing application for bail to a person accused of rape of girls of age less than sixteen year.

Amendment to POCSO Act and Evidence Act

Section 42 of the POCSO Act has been also amended to include newly inserted IPC provisions section 376AB, section 376DA, and section 376DB. Section 53A of the Evidence Act that deals with evidence of character or previous sexual experience not relevant in certain cases and Section 146 of the Act that deals with evidence of character or previous sexual experience not relevant in certain cases, has also been amended to include newly inserted IPC provisions section 376AB, section 376DA, section 376DB.

 

 

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