The Haryana State Legislative Assembly unanimously passed the Criminal Law (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2018 to amend the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
According to the Bill, after Section 376-A(Intercourse by a man with his wife during separation) of the Penal Code, Section 376-AA will be inserted in the Act. As per its provisions, those guilty of raping a girl up to 12 years will face death or rigorous imprisonment of not less than 14 years which may extend to life imprisonment. In another provision in the proposed law, Section 376-DA will also be added to deal with gangrape cases.
The Section 354 (Assault or criminal force against woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 354 D(2) (stalking) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) are also amended. According to the proposal that received the state cabinet’s nod, the punishment under section 354 of the IPC will not be less than two years (earlier not less than one year) but may extend upto seven years (earlier upto five years) and shall also liable to fine.
Also, under section 354D (2) of the IPC, whoever commits the offence or stalking will be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment for not less than three years, but which may extend to seven years (earlier up to five years), the statement said.
Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister of Haryana stated that state witnessed sudden rise in the cases of rape. The Haryana Government also wants to setup a fast- track courts for speedy adjudication and justice to victims of rape cases.
The opposition welcomed the move. The Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhry said, “There should not be cap of 12 year age of the victim to award death penalty to guilty in rape cases. Its worst crime than of murder.”