India is set to introduce the death penalty for anyone convicted of raping a child under the age of 12, following a number of high-profile cases.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Cabinet have approved an ordinance which will allow anyone found guilty of raping a child to be sentenced to death.
The order also increases the maximum sentence for the rape of a woman from seven years, to 10 years to life. For the rape of a girl under 16, but over 12, the sentence has been double from 10 years to 20 years, extendable up to life.
The Indian government are also looking at bringing in new ‘fast track courts’ so that rape trials are dealt with quicker.
The ordinance will need approval from parliament within six months in order to pass into law, however, until then suspects can be still prosecuted under these new guidelines.
PM @NarendraModi delivers on his promise of justice to every daughter of India. Approves an ordinance giving death penalty to child rapists. Also ensures, stringent punishment be meted out to perpetrators of rape, particularly girls below 16 years. #DeathForChildRapists
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) April 21, 2018
There have been a series of protests across the country after an eight-year-old girl was raped and killed. Police said the young girl was part of a Muslim community called the Bakarwals and was out with her horses when she was kidnapped and taken to a Hindu temple.
She was held for five days where she was repeatedly drugged and raped before she was killed and dumped in a forest in January.
Details of the crime were released last week and caused thousands to take to the street, calling on the government to take action on the number of sexual crimes happening in the country.
As India debates death penalty for rapists, just wish to mention dat about 33% of reported cases of rape in India are filed against boyfriend/live-in partners/husband under “Rape on false promise of Marriage”
Many of these accused get convicted, later acquitted from higher court
— Deepika Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) April 19, 2018
Eight men have been arrested in connection with the horrendous crime, with reports claiming three of those men were police officers and another was a former government official.
Lawyer Abha Singh told the Guardian he believes the new ordinance will stop men from committing crimes against women, but is urging the government to introduce a timeframe for seeking convictions, as there are currently 30 million cases pending, being held by long delays.
Sources: The Times of India; The Guardian