India: Punjab cabinet republishes ordinance approving capital punishment for rape of girls under age twelve

Friday, June 29, 2018

On Wednesday, the cabinet of the Indian state of Punjab republished an ordinance which approved capital punishment for convicts of raping a girl under the age of twelve. In April, India's Union Cabinet approved the ordinance after nationwide protests that took place in various cities after an eight-year-old girl was gang-raped and killed in Kathua city in Jammu and Kashmir.

The State Cabinet approved the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance under Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Per the ordinance, rape convicts of girls below the age of twelve can now be sentenced to death. Further strengthening the ordinance from the Union Cabinet, punishment for rape convicts of girls below the age of sixteen is life imprisonment. The Union Cabinet had approved a twenty-year jail term which could be extended to life-long imprisonment. Prison term for convicts of rape of females above the age of sixteen has been increased from seven to ten years.

The ordinance also mentions mandatory completion of rape investigation within a period of two months. It also ruled out anticipatory bail for those accused of raping a girl below the age of sixteen.

The ordinance was republished in the Punjab Gazette. The Indian Union Cabinet had approved the ordinance on April 21, and a day later India's president Ram Nath Kovind also approved the ordinance.

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