President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved an ordinance to provide death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below age 12 years besides clearing another ordinance to confiscate property of fugitive economic offenders.
The President promulgated The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, which was approved by the cabinet on Saturday and which seeks to provide effective deterrence against rape and instil a sense of security among women, particularly young girls.
The ordinance follows outrage over rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and similar crimes in other parts of the country. Following the President’s approval, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), The Indian Penal Code (IPC) and The Evidence Act stand amended.
The development puts in place a number of measures for speedy investigation and trial of rape cases including a two-month time limit for investigation, two months for completion of trial and six months for disposal of appeals.
There will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years. It also aims at strengthening investigation and prosecution including setting up fast track courts and special forensic labs in each state besides maintaining a national database of sexual offenders.
Kovind also promulgated The Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018, which followed the Punjab National Bank fraud case, in which the main accused, diamond trader Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, fled the country after duping banks to the tune of over Rs 30,000 crore.
The ordinance would provide for attachment and confiscation of the properties of the economic offenders in a bid to bring back defaulters of huge bank loans who flee abroad.