Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Cabinet to discuss death penalty for rape of minors

Cabinet to discuss death penalty for rape of minors

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday that it has started the process to introduce the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below 12 years of age, Live Law reported.

POCSO Act classifies child abuse into sexual harassment, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault.

Following a nationwide uproar over the rape of two minors in Kathua and Unnao, the Union Cabinet could, in its meeting on Saturday, take a decision on bringing an Ordinance to award death penalty to those convicted of sexually assaulting a child. Until now, the maximum punishment as prescribed by the POCSO Act is life imprisonment. The government is expected to bring the amendments in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) in the wake of incidents in Kathu in Jammu and Kashmir where an eight-year-old girl was raped, tortured and murdered in Kathua.

The next hearing is scheduled for April 27 and a three-judge bench, comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud and headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra will argue the matter. At present, the law provides for varying levels of punishment for each crime against children.

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The proposal demanded death penalty to those raping a child of below 12 years of rape.

In his petition, Srivastava sought the urgent framing of guidelines on the investigation and trial of cases of rapes of minors, between 0-12 years, to ensure they are completed within six months from the date of filing an FIR. It was in this context the petitioner prayed for death penalty for child rapists.

This comes just a few days after Union minister of Women and Children Development Maneka Gandhi has said that she has proposed an amendment of the rape laws regarding children.

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