New Delhi, April 24: Days after Union government approved an ordinance to amend the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet on Tuesday also passed an ordinance approving death penalty for child rapists. “By the means of an ordinance, we have brought an amendment to the Criminal Law Ordinance 2018 which will enhance punishment to 20 years/ life imprisonment for sexual offences against women under 13 to 60 years,” J&K Minister Rural Development Minister Abdul Hak Khan told reporters.
Furthermore he stated,”Under J&K Protection of Children from Sexual Violence 2018 ordinance, death penalty/life imprisonment will be awarded for sexual offences against children up to the age of 12 years. Investigation of cases have to be completed within two months and trial to be completed in six months.” (Rape is Rape, Don’t Politicise it: PM Modi in London)
Reacting over the decision to amend POCSO act, Manan Mishra, Chairman, Bar Council of India said,”The amendment should have been brought by proper discussion. I think it is a step taken in hurry. Pros & cons should have been considered. Only then such amendments should be made.”
Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had reiterated that her government intends to bring stringent amendments in the state to put an end to crimes against women mostly related to sexual assaults and rapes. (Rape Cases in India: A Timeline Till it Stops)
The Union Cabinet on Saturday approved an ordinance to amend the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in its meeting at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi. The ordinance recommends the death penalty for rapists of children below 12 years of age. On Friday, the Centre had informed the Supreme Court, during the hearing in a PIL, that it was working on bringing changes in the POCSO Act to include capital punishment for rapists.
In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the Union Cabinet has increased minimum punishment from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment while, in case of rape of a girl under 12 years of age, the minimum punishment of 20 years imprisonment or life imprisonment has been provided in the Ordinance.
On the other hand, the minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment whereas, in case of gangrape of a girl below 12 years, punishment will be life imprisonment or death sentence.
The decision reportedly came in the wake of the anger amid people over recent rape case that took place in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, wherein a body an eight-year-old Bakerwal girl was found. She was brutally raped and murdered from January 10 to 17.