President Endorses Ordinance On Child Rape, Child Rights Groups Oppose Death Penalty

Mehbooba Mufti

Ordinance, 2018, rape of a girl under 16 years of age has been made punishable with rigorous imprisonment for 20 years, which may extend to a life sentence, which shall mean the remainder of that person's natural life, and rape of a girl under 12 years of age has been made punishable with death.

Reacting over the decision to amend POCSO act, Manan Mishra, Chairman, Bar Council of India said,"The amendment should have been brought by proper discussion".

The Justice Verma Committee, which was constituted in the aftermath of December 2012 gangrape in Delhi to recommend legal reforms to curb sexual assault crimes, in its report said introduction of death penalty for rape may not have a deterrent effect and recommended enhanced sentence of jail for the remainder of life. Those guilty of raping a victim, aged between 13 and 16, will get lifer.

The cabinet approved the ordinance, which also prescribes capital punishment for convicted rapists of girls below the age of 16 years, in an emergency meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to amend the criminal law. The government has changed the pattern of investigation and trial of rape cases in J&K would be fast-tracked, he said.


The ordinance demands that the investigation in such cases must be completed within two months, and the trial in six months.

Stringent provisions for bail have been incorporated in the Ordinance. The Ordinance also provides for provisions relating to establishment of special courts for speedy trial of such offences. The matter took a rather murky, communal and political turn when one Hindu Ekta Manch organised rallies supporting the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case.

The body of a girl, from the Bakerwal community, was recovered from a forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area. Presently, the massive backlog of redressal of rape cases, lack of rehabilitation support and psycho-social counselling to rape survivors - and their family members - is what needs immediate attention, the statement added.

The crime branch arrested 8 people including Juvenile and submitted charge-sheet in the court in Kathua on April 9.

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