President Ram Nath Kovind has granted his consent over an ordinance to penalize convicts of raping children below 12 years of age with capital punishment on Sunday. President Kovind implemented The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, which the union cabinet had already approved on Saturday. It aims at making women and young girls feel safe by giving effective deterrence against rape, reported the Economic Times.

The ordinance comes after the horrific rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl from Kathua and another rape case of a 16-year-old girl from Unnao. These brutal rape cases outraged the people across the country and it became necessary for the centre to bring in an amendment in law to make people feel safe about their children.

Lawmakers have amended the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), The Indian Penal Code (IPC) and The Evidence Act after the President’s nod.

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The executive order has modified the criminal law to also include more extreme punishment for convicted rapists of girls below the age of 16, government officials said. The amended Criminal Law does not allow the rape or gang rape accused anticipatory bail. It also seeks to strengthen investigation and prosecution.

Earlier in 2012, after the Nirbhaya gangrape shook the country, the central government had launched fast-track courts and a tougher rape law that included the death penalty after a gruesome assault on Jyoti Singh, a medical student who died after a gang rape on 16 December, 2012. However, the amendments and the initiatives after that infamous gang rape have not been able to significantly slow down the rate at which rapes happen in India.

Very few protests have achieved so much in such less time. Most of our demands are considered in the ordinance. Capital punishment for child rapist, establishment of fast track courts all over the country, additional resources for rape cases and time bound enquiry are some of them.

In 2016, National Crime Record Bureau reported 40,000 cases of rape across India. It has also found that children are victims in 40% of those rape cases.

The Delhi Commission for Women chief, Swati Malliwal, had initiated an indefinite hunger against Kathua and Unnao rape cases on 12 April demanding stricter Anti-rape laws and strengthening of the system with stringent laws. A lot of influential people along with the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal supported her in her hunger strike.

On Sunday at 2.00 pm she ended her hunger strike as the government passed the ordinance.

She said, “I am very thankful to Prime Minister for bringing this ordinance. I congratulate people of this country for this victory. Very few protests have achieved so much in such less time. Most of our demands are considered in the ordinance. Capital punishment for child rapist, establishment of fast track courts all over the country, additional resources for rape cases and time bound enquiry are some of them. These steps will take place in 3 months. If the government fails to apply these promises in 3 months, a bigger campaign will start and it will spread in whole country.”

Picture credit- outlook

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