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Death for rape of children below 12: Cabinet approves ordinance

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New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday approved an ordinance to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to provide for the death penalty for the rape of children below the age of 12, reported Economic Times.

The move comes in the wake of public outrage over the Kathua rape-and-murder case where the victim was a minor.

After the case of the eight-year-old Kathua victim, other instances, such as in Surat where a nine-year-old, apparently a victim of traffickers, was raped and killed, added urgency to the government’s actions.

Criminal Law:

  • Minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
  • In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which shall mean imprisonment till that person’s natural life.
  • The punishment for gang rape of a girl under 16 years of age will invariably be imprisonment for rest of life of the convict.
  • Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided – minimum 20 years’ imprisonment or imprisonment for rest of life or with death.
  • In case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, punishment will be imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence.