Work begins on law making death mandatory for child rapists: Khan

Law minister Abdul Haq Khan said the new law will act as deterrent in such heinous crimes.

Muddasir Ali
Srinagar, Publish Date: Apr 20 2018 12:30AM | Updated Date: Apr 20 2018 12:30AM
Work begins on law making death mandatory for child rapists: KhanPhoto: Mubashir Khan/GK

The J&K government has begun the process to bring in a law that makes death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors.

The outrage triggered by the dastardly rape and murder of an eight-year-old child in Kathua in January, which the police said was aimed at driving away her nomadic community from forestland, prompted Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to assert on April 12 that her government would never let any other child suffer. She assured to bring in a new law making rape of minors punishable by death.

Law minister Abdul Haq Khan said the new law will act as deterrent in such heinous crimes.

The law department, Khan said, has begun studying laws in other states where capital punishment is given to rapists of minors. Only Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have such laws. The Delhi government has also passed a resolution demanding amendments to the existing law to award death penalty to those convicted of rape of children below 12 years of age.

The Kathua girl was held captive in a temple, sedated and raped repeatedly, the Crime Branch charge sheet has revealed.

“We witnessed such a horrifying crime for the first time, but we will try to ensure that no such crime is committed in future,” said the law minister. 

In 2013, following the outcry against gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi, the state government amended the J&K Criminal Laws Act to prescribe punishment extending to death for an offence of rape or punish the offenders of rape with imprisonment for life (which shall mean the remainder of the person's natural life). 

However, the amended law doesn’t talk specifically about punishment in case of rape of a minor, said an official. 

“We can amend the existing law and bring in the provisions to award death penalty to those convicted of rape of a minor,” said the official.

He said the government can also enact the Protection of Children from Sexual offences Act (POSCO) for punishing sexual offenses against a child. The law has been enacted by every state after it was passed by the Government of India in 2012.

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