Minimum punishment for gang rape of a girl below 12 years will now be life imprisonment (until a person dies a natural death) or a death sentence.
New Delhi: With the Union Cabinet passing an ordinance to amend the POCSO Act, the minimum punishment awarded in case of a gang rape of a girl below 12 years will now be life imprisonment (until a person dies a natural death) or a death sentence.
Also, no anticipatory bail will be granted in cases of rape from now on and trial will be conducted within two months from the registration of the case.
The ordinance passed by the cabinet Saturday will be legally applicable from the time the President signs it.
ThePrint lists the major changes that have been made in the law.
1) Death for gang rape of a minor (under 12)
– The minimum punishment for rape of a minor has been increased from 10 years to 20 years or life imprisonment and maximum punishment being a death sentence.
– In case of gang rape of a minor, the minimum punishment will now be life imprisonment and maximum will be a death penalty.
Rape of a girl under 16 years of age
-The minimum punishment for raping a girl under 16 has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extending up to life until the person dies a natural death.
– For gang rape of a girl below 16 years of age, the sentence awarded shall be life imprisonment, until the person dies a natural death.
Rape of a girl under 18
-The minimum punishment for raping a major has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable up to life, until the person dies a natural death.
2) Trial and investigation to be completed in 2 months each
According to the ordinance, in case of a rape of a minor, the investigation will be completed in two months by the probe agency and the trial too should be completed in two months, followed by pronouncement of the sentence.
3) No anticipatory bail for the accused
4) Six months window for disposal of any appeal
5) New fast track courts
6) Dedicated manpower to be deployed for setting up of new forensics labs for better and faster investigation
7) No provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years:
• Court has to give notice of 15 days to public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in a case of rape of a girl under 16 years
• New fast track courts will be set up in consultation with states, UTs and high courts.
• Creation of new posts of public prosecutors and related infrastructure
• Special forensic kits for rape cases to all police stations and hospitals.
• Dedicated manpower will be provided for investigation of rape cases in a time-bound manner.
• Setting up special forensic labs in each state and union territories exclusively for rape cases.
• National Crime Records Bureau will maintain a database and profile of sexual offenders. The data will be regularly shared with states and UTs for tracking, monitoring and investigation, including verification of antecedents by police.