An Ordinance to allow courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years has been approved by the Union Cabinet. The move come close on the heels of the murder and rape of children in Jammu, Unnao and Surat, which triggered massive outrage across the nation.
Sources say the Ordinance will seek to amend the the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to include the new provision.
The Cabinet has also prescribed a stricter punishments for those convicted of raping, suggesting an increase of rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, which can be extended to a life imprisonment. It has also suggested speedy trial of such cases, using fast track courts.
It has also suggested that no anticipatory bail for those accused of raping children less than 16 years of age.
What is an Ordinance?
The President can issue Ordinance when one of the houses of the Parliament is not in session. The maximum validity of an ordinance is 6 months and 6 weeks. It has to be passed by Parliament to become a permanent law.
What is the next step?
It will now be sent to the President of India who will pass the Ordinance. Parliament has to clear the Bill and make it a law within the expiry of the Ordinance.