Who: Lok Sabha
Where: New Delhi
When: 19 March 2013
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 was passed in the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013. Now the bill will be the tabled in the Rajya Sabha where the voting will take place.
The bill encompasses features that will provide stringent punishment for crimes against women such as rape, acid attacks, voyeurism and stalking. The punishments range from life term to death penalty for the repeated offenders.
The Bill brought out after the Delhi gangrape of the Para-medical student on 16 December 2012, also fixed the age of consensual sex to 18 years.
Key features of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013
The key features of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 passed in the Lok Sabha are as follows:
• The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 was actually the Ordinance that was promulgated by the President of India on 3 February 2013.
• The bill seeks to make amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Penal Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act as well as Indian Evidence Act.
• The bill states that offender could be given an imprisonment of not less than 20 years, extendable up to life term.
• The bill also includes provisions for death sentence for offenders who are convicted earlier for such crimes.
• This is for the first time that the bill described voyeurism and stalking as the non-bailable offences, in case repeated for the second time.
• Perpetrators of acid attacks would be sentenced for 10-year jail term.
New offences incorporated in the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 incorporated new offences in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which are as follows:
• Acid Attack
• Attempt to Acid Attack
• Sexual Harassment
• Public disrobing of woman
In light of the gang rape of female physiotherapy student on 16 December 2012 in Delhi, the judicial committee which was headed by Justice J. S. Verma was appointed by the Government of India on 22 December 2012 for submitting the report, suggesting amendments in criminal law for dealing with sexual assault cases. The Justice Verma panel, which is a 3-member commission created to review the laws for sexual crimes submitted the report to the Government of India on 23 January 2013.
As a result, the Cabinet Ministers approved the bringing of ordinance on 1 February 2013 for bringing into law the suggestions of Verma Committee Report. Subsequently, the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 3 February 2013 agreed to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 for sharpening the laws against sexual assault.
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