NEW DELHI, April 22 - President Ram Nath Kovind today promulgated the criminal law amendment ordinance, paving the way for providing stringent punishment, including death�penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
The President�s nod to the ordinance came after the Union Cabinet�s approval yesterday for tightening the law against people involved in rape, following public outcry over cases of sexual assault and murder of minors in Kathua and Surat and the rape of a girl in Unnao.
�Whereas Parliament is not in session and the President is satisfied that the circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action.
�Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 123 of the Constitution, the President is pleased to promulgate the following ordinance,� the gazette notification said. The ordinance�stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 and 12 years. Death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.�
The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
According to the ordinance, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convicts �natural life�.
The punishment for gang rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.
Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided with the minimum jail term being 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. Gangrape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death, it said. � PTI