New Delhi: After a long struggle and controversies, protestors will have got a sigh of relief. Today, President Pranab Mukherjee signed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill which gives India a strong anti-rape law. The Criminal Law Amendment Bill was earlier passed by the two Houses of Parliament.
The massive public furore and uproars due to the December 16 gangrape of the Delhi braveheart forced the drafting and eventual passing of this new Bill.The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was moved in the Rajya Sabha by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde where he had termed it as a “unique law”.
The Home Minister had said that the government is open to further improvement if they find any essential need there. Replying to queries, Shinde said the purpose of the Bill is to provide stringent punishment also for several offences.
The law passed by Lok Sabha on March 19 and by Rajya Sabha on March 21, has replaced an Ordinance promulgated on February 3.The new law replaces an ordinance promulgated on February 3, which will expire on April 4. It seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The basic motto of coining this new anti-rape law is to provide a strong deterrent against crimes like rapes.The new law states that an offender can be sentenced to complex imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to life, meaning imprisonment for the remainder of the convict’s natural life and with a fine.It has provisions for handing out death sentence to offenders who may have been convicted earlier for such crimes.
The law, for the first time, defines stalking and voyeurism as non-bailable offences if repeated for a second time. Perpetrators of acid attack will attract a 10-year jail.It also defines acid attack as a crime besides granting a victim the right to self-defence. It also has provisions for imposing a minimum 10-year jail term for perpetrators of such acts.The law has fixed age for consensual sex at 18 years.
This law also states that all hospitals shall immediately provide first aid and/or medical treatment free of cost to the victims of acid attack or rape, and failure to do so will attract punishment.
It has provisions for a minimum imprisonment of seven years which may extend to imprisonment for natural life and a fine for rape convict if he is found to be a police officer, a public servant, armed forces personnel or management or hospital staff.
By coining this intricate law, the government has shown its hard tacting face towards the increasing raping rate. It is being hoped that this new anti-rape law will decrease the rape-sexual assault rate to a high extent.
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