At present India has an increased emphasis on fighting sexual assault. In this regard, the death penalty as a punishment for the rapists of girls below the age of 12 has been approved, following an ordinance that altered an existing criminal law.

The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018 has been therefore promulgated in this regard.

There are other stringent penal provisions for rape that has been promulgated under The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018. They are:-

  • Indian Penal Code,
  • Code of Criminal Procedure,
  • Indian Evidence Act and
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

What is an ordinance?

  • Ordinances are laws that are announced by the President of India on the aid and advice of the Union Cabinet.
  • They are issued when Parliament is not in session.
  • They authorize the government to take immediate legislative action.

Important characteristics of the Ordinance

  • 10 Years minimum punishment for Rape.
  • 20 years minimum punishment for rape of a woman aged below 16.
  • 20 years of harsh confinement and maximum Death penalty or Life Imprisonment for committing rape on a girl below 12 years of age.
  • Fine imposed to be reasonable and just to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
  • Police officer committing rape shall be given rigorous imprisonment of minimum 10 years.
  • Investigation in rape cases must be completed within 2 months.
  • No Anticipatory bail to be given to the accused of rape of girls of age less than 16 years.
  • Appeals in the rape cases to be disposed within 6 months.

 IPC Section 376 also amended:-

  • The minimum punishment for rape was earlier 7 years which now has been made 10 years. The Maximum punishment, however, remains the same as earlier, i.e. Life imprisonment.
  • A new clause (3) has been added which prescribes that the Minimum punishment of 20 years to be awarded to a person committing rape on a woman less than 16 years of Age.
  • Another section 376DA and section 376DB provide life imprisonment for persons accused of gang rape of woman less than 16 and 12 years of age respectively.
  • Death penalty for persons who committed gang rape of a girl of less than 12 years of age.
  • It is also provided that the fine imposed shall be given to the victim.