New Delhi, Jul 30:  All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said that law cannot stop the rape of children, change of men’s mentality can. He was speaking in Lok Sabha during the discussion on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju also said that new provision proposes that court, where rape cases are trialed, should be presided by a woman judge. A statement in rape cases should be recorded by a woman police officer.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 provides for stringent punishment including the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years. The amendment bill, once approved by Parliament, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21, following an outcry over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and the rape of another woman in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

According to the draft bill, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life. The punishment for the gang-rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.

Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided with the minimum jail term being 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. The gang rape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death, it said.

The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The time limit for the investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within two months.

The deadline for the completion of a trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.

In January this year, an eight-year-old girl was abducted, sedated, gang-raped and then murdered in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir. Her body was recovered from a forest on January 17, a week after she had gone missing while grazing horses in the forest area. According to the charge sheet, the underage accused, a school dropout, had lured the girl to a desolate place on the false pretext of helping her in finding her missing horses, held her captive at ‘devisthan’ where she was drugged and allegedly raped by him, Vishal and SPO on different occasions before being brutally killed. The ‘horrific’ incident of child jolted the country leading to massive protests.