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Ordinance passed for providing death penalty for rape of children below 12 years

Context:

The significant move came amid the nationwide outrage over the series of incidents of sexual assault of minor girls, like the one in Kathua.

What is an ordinance?

1) Article 123 of the Constitution deals with the ordinance making power of the President.

2) It is a device to be used in when the Parliament is not in session and the President is satisfied that there is a need for a immediate legislative action to be taken, an Ordinance is passed.

3) The Ordinance has to be approved by both the houses of the Parliament within 6 weeks of the first sitting of the house whichever is summoned later. Else it ceases to exist.

Status of death penalty in India:

1) Death penalty in India is given for the rarest of rare cases.

2)The criteria for a crime being “rarest of rare case” has not been defined.

3) Many countries refuse to handover indian fuguites because of the presence of capital punishment in India.

4) India opposed a UN resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, as it goes against Indian statutory law and the sovereign right of every country to determine their own legal system.

Provisions in the Criminal Law Short title and (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018:

The Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 were amended by this ordinance.

1) Rape of a child below 12 years: death sentence, imprisonment for life or a minimum sentence of 20 years.

2) Rape of a girl below 16 years: minimum 20 years imprisonment but extendible to life imprisonment

3) Gang rape of a girl below 16 years: imprisonment for life.

4) Investigation of all cases of rape should be completed within two months.

5) The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months.

6) A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases.

7) Establishment of more fast-track courts to deal with rape cases,

8) Appointment of more public prosecutors

9) Police stations to be equipped with special forensic kits

Consequences:

1) Awareness about the plight of children.

2) Might act as a deterrent.

3) Social stigma attached to death penalty

4) Children would be more aware and vigilant

5) Speedy trial and justice

Way Forward:

1) Certainty of the punishment rather than its severity should be focused upon.

2) There is a general lack of obedience to law because of the delays and the perceived corruption in the Judiciary. There is a need for judicial reforms.

3) The authorities should focus on carrying out proper investigations and legal processes so that the criminal does not escape due to loopholes in the law or for lack of evidence.

4) A simultaneous effort should be taken to sensitise the future generation about gender equality.

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