President Ram Nath Kovind approved the ordinance to strengthen the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on Sunday. In the wake of an increase in incidents of rape of minors, the cabinet had on Saturday approved a number of measures to amend the POCSO Act.
According to the media reports, the ordinance seeks the death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years of age and stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape particularly of girls below 16 years.
The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from the rigorous imprisonment of 7 to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment. In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
The punishment for the gang-rape of a girl less than 16 years will be imprisonment for the rest of the life of the convict.
With regard to rape or gang rape of a girl below the age of 12, the cabinet said the accused would be sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment, imprisonment for life or death.
The cabinet also decided to put in place several measures for speedy probe and trial of rape cases. It has also provided for a six-month time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases. There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.