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Rajasthan passes ‘The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018’ bill for death penalty to rapists of girls aged 12 or below

The Rajasthan Assembly on Friday, 9th March, unanimously passed ‘The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018’ that provides for the death sentence to those convicted of raping girls aged 12 years or below. It has now become the second State, after Madhya Pradesh, to pass a Bill of such kind providing death penalty rape convicts.

Last year, Madhya Pradesh assembly had passed ‘The Penal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill-2017’ awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below.

‘The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018 introduces two new sections 376-AA and 376-DD to the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The amendment says that a person who is convicted of raping/gang-raping a girl up to twelve years of age will be given a death sentence or rigorous imprisonment, which shall not be less than fourteen years and 20 years, respectively.

Section 376-AA provides for capital punishment or rigorous imprisonment ranging between 14 years and lifelong incarceration. Section 376-DD makes a similar provision for gang-rape of a girl child, while laying down death penalty or imprisonment from 20 years to lifelong incarceration for those convicted of the offence. Each of the persons constituting the gang will be deemed to be guilty of the offence.

Rajasthan home minister GC Kataria, who introduced the bill in the house, said it was a “progressive legislation” aimed at protecting the girl child by laying down a deterrent punishment, including death sentence, to the offenders.

According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, the cases of crimes against children have shown a steady rise in Rajasthan. The state recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8 per cent of the crimes against children (98,344) registered across the country. It stands fourth in the crime against women category.

The Haryana Chief Minister Manoharlal Khattar has also hinted at bringing a similar law in his state given the increase in the number of rape cases there, reported Indian Express.

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