The Cabinet has also decided to take measures for speedy probes and trials of rape cases. Now, the ordinance will be sent to President for approval.
The Union Cabinet on Saturday approved an ordinance amending the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), 2012 Act to introduce a new provision of the death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age. The decision was taken at a meeting at PM Narendra Modi’s residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg on Saturday. The decision came at a time when there is strife within the country over heinous crimes committed to an 8-year-old girl in Kathua and a similar incident surfacing in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. Currently, under the POCSO Act, the minimum punishment of raping a girl under 16 years of age has been increased from 10 years to 20 years. The minimum punishment awarded for raping children below 12 years will be 20 years of imprisonment.
The Cabinet has also decided to take measures for speedy probes and trials of rape cases. Now, the ordinance will be sent to President for approval. The ordinance has to be passed in Parliament within six months. On Friday, the Centre in a letter to the Supreme Court had said it has initiated the process of amending 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 ensure maximum punishment of death penalty in child rape cases where the victim is below the age of 12 years.
With the news of Centre approving the ordinance, Twitteratis erupted with joy and welcomed the move. Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje referred to the amendment of the POCSO Act as a landmark decision in her tweet, while Nawab Malik, National Spokesperson of National Congress Party (NCP) greeted the decision as well as slammed the BJP for shielding few leaders who face sexual assault charges.
Here are some of the Twitter reactions:
Welcome the Cabinet’s amendment to #POCSO Act, death penalty as maximum punishment for rape with a minor. A landmark decision, that reaffirms and reinstates the commitment of our Government to security of girls and women in #India. https://t.co/xUvW2UB6t1
— Vasundhara Raje (@VasundharaBJP) April 21, 2018
Central Government has informed Supreme court that it is planning to amend #POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses) act to include death penalty for offenders who committ rape on Children up to the age of 12.. #Deathpenaltyforchildrapists
— Ramesh Bala (@rameshlaus) April 21, 2018
#POCSO एक्ट में संशोधन कर 12 साल तक की बच्चियों से रेप के दोषियों को मौत की सजा का निर्णय लेने पर प्रधानमंत्री जी व केंद्रीय कैबिनेट को बहुत बहुत धन्यवाद।
— Sidharth Nath Singh (@SidharthNSingh) April 21, 2018
पॉक्सो एक्ट में संशोधन को मिली कैबिनेट की मंजूरी, अब 12 साल तक के बच्चों से बलात्कार पर होगी मौत की सजा।#POCSO
— Krishan Pal Gurjar (@KPGBJP) April 21, 2018
— Siddharth Dudhagra. (@SIDDHARTH_BJYM) April 21, 2018
— DC Nitiyesh (@nitiyesh) April 21, 2018
We welcome the decision to amend the #POCSO law but there are many questions that need to be answered by the incumbent government.They have been shielding their leaders who are involved in cases of #rape, sexual misconduct and atrocities towards women. (1/2) @PTI_News
— Nawab Malik (@nawabmalikncp) April 21, 2018
Trade analyst Ramesh Bala tweeted on Centre’s decision to start amending the Act. Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla questioned protection of young boys from cruel sexual assaults and called for preserving their rights as well.