- 1 Rajasthan the second state to pass bill of death penalty for raping children up to 12 years
Rajasthan the second state to pass bill of death penalty for raping children up to 12 years
The death penalty can now be awarded to culprits convicted of raping girls up to 12 years of age in Rajasthan after the state assembly unanimously passed a bill to this effect on Friday. Courts will be able to administer the death penalty to rape convicts of up to 12-year olds after the bill becomes law.
That would make Rajasthan one the second state in India to legalize death penalty for rape. The only other state being Madhya Pradesh.
The Rajasthan bill also enhanced the maximum punishment for people raping a minor to 14 years and life imprisonment from the earlier tenure of 7 years. In incidents of the death of a child following a gang rape, the maximum prison sentence has been increased to 20 years.
The Rajasthan government said that the increase in incidents of violence against women and children prompted it to enact the law.
“We want to prevent rape against minors, and if it still happens, the accused should get the strictest punishment,” said Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria.
There has been a steady rise in the crimes against children in the state of Rajasthan in recent times according to data and statistics from the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)’s 2016 report. About 3.8 percent of the total incidents of crime against children nationally (98,344) were recorded in Rajasthan in 2016 with 4,034 such cases. In terms of crime against women in general, Rajasthan ranks fourth in the country.
Compared to 2015, the number of crime against children in 2016 was greater by 345 cases. 689 such cases were registered in 2915. In 2016 there were 858 cases of child rape registered by the Rajasthan police compared to 728 cases registered in 2015 according to data from the NCRB.
The figures justify the fears and the concerns of the Rajasthan government.
Work on the latest bill was initiated soon after Madhya Pradesh passed a similar bill in its state assembly in December of 2017. The Madhya Pradesh bill formed the basis for the drafting of the bill in Rajasthan, said Mr. Kataria.
A similar bill is also reported as being mulled by the Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for similar reasons.
The Rajasthan bill got its legitimacy following the addition of sections 376-AA and 376-DD in the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Madhya Pradesh was the first state in the country to have legalized imposition of the death penalty for rape on December 9, 2017. That law also allows awarding of death penalties to convicts proved to have raped children of up to 12 years of age.
While a number of Penal Codes in India carry the death penalty, awarding of capital punishment is more the exception than the rule. There have been multiple instances that the Supreme Court has opined that capital punishment should only be awarded in “the rarest of the rare cases” and when there is no other alternative.
Many have justified the imposition of death penalty for rape convicts because they claim that rape in India is not only a crime originating out of passion but is often a means to express power. It was not long ago that the ministry of women and children had noted that crime of child sexual abuse most often goes unreported and hence the actual number of such cases has reached huge proportions.