Jaipur, March 9: Rajasthan has passed a bill to award death penalty to rapists of girls below 12 years of age. Rajasthan is the second state to do so after Madhya Pradesh. Though Haryana cabinet too has cleared such a bill, but it is yet to be ratified by the assembly. The new law provides minimum punishment for raping girls below 12 years of age as 14 years.
“Whoever commits rape on a woman up to twelve years of age shall be punished with death, or rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than fourteen years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine,” the amendment said.
The legislation has introduced section--376 (A)(A)-- in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under which a person convicted of raping a girl aged 12 years or below may be awarded death penalty, life imprisonment or a minimum imprisonment of 14 years with a fine.
It also seeks to bring in section 376 (D)(A) for gang rape of girls up to the age of 12. The convict under this section may be awarded capital punishment, life imprisonment or a minimum of 20 years in jail, besides a fine.
Under both the sections, the convict awarded life sentence will have to remain in jail till death.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, cases of crime against children have shown a steady rise in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8 per cent of the crimes against children (98,344) registered across the country. In 2015, the state had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children.
According to the NCRB data, state police registered 728 cases of child rape in 2015, which increased to 858 in 2016.
News24Bureau with PTI inputs