Punjab approves death penalty for raping girls under 12
Chandigarh, June 27 : The Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday approved the death penalty for males held guilty of the rape of a girl younger than 12 years.
The Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, decided to extend to the state two major ordinances, relating to cases involving rapes and fugitive economic offenders, recently promulgated by the Central government.
"The meeting approved republication of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 (Ordinance No 2 of 2018), promulgated by the Government of India to make the law on rape more stringent," a state government spokesman said here.
"The Chief Minister was all in favour of stricter punishment for rape convicts, with the other members of the Cabinet also unanimously supporting him."
Punjab has a Congress government since March 2017.
Besides the death penalty for the rape of a girl under 12 years of age, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance amends the Indian Penal Code to provide for enhancement of minimum punishment for rape from the existing seven to 10 years.
The minimum punishment for the rape of a girl younger than 16 years has been fixed at life imprisonment, as against the earlier provision of 20 years of rigorous imprisonment, extendable to imprisonment for the rest of the convict's life.
The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has also been amended under the ordinance to ensure mandatory completion of investigation in rape cases within two months. The trial in rape cases is also required to be completed in two months, with a total limit of six months fixed for disposal of appeals in all rape cases, the spokesman said.
Regarding economic offences, in consonance with the Finance Ministry's proposal of promulgating the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018, the Cabinet gave its nod to republish the ordinance.
The Ordinance empowers authorities to attach and confiscate properties and assets of economic offenders, such as loan defaulters, who flee the country.
The Ordinance was promulgated by the Central government in the wake of the recent financial frauds, especially the Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank scam where jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi fled the country.