MP Assembly passes bill for awarding death for rape of girls 12 and below

4 Dec 2017

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly today unanimously passed a bill awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below.

With the passage of the bill, Madhya Pradesh becomes the first state in the country where those convicted of such rapes will face the gallows. Introduced in the House by law and legislative affairs minister Rampal Singh, the bill was discussed in detail and then passed by all parties, including the ruling BJP and opposition Congress. The bill will now be sent to the President for his assent after which it will become a law, state home minister Bhupendra Singh told newspersons outside the Assembly.  "It was a historic day for Madhya Pradesh as the state Assembly, as per the wish of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, passed a bill making a provision to award capital punishment to those indulging in such crimes (raping girls aged 12 or younger)," Singh said.  Capital punishment will be awarded to convicts under section 376 (A), which is related to rape, and section 376 (D, A), pertaining to gang rape.

Welcoming the bill, chief minister Chouhan said: "There are people in society who can be set right only by severe punishments. It (the legislation) will deal with them. We will also raise awareness in society against such crimes." The development comes after the latest NCRB report revealed that Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of rape cases in the country. The bill proposes death penalty or a minimum term of 14-year rigorous imprisonment or life imprisonment till death for raping girls aged 12 or less. The minimum punishment increases to 20 years rigorous imprisonment for gang rape of girls aged 12 or less. The bill also proposes punishment for disrobing, stalking or sex on the pretext of marriage. The jail term increases for second or subsequent offences. Giving details about the bill, the chief minister also said repeated stalking would be a non-bailable offence and offenders would be punished. The government had mooted the bill after a 19-year-old woman was allegedly abducted and raped by four men near railway tracks in the vicinity of Bhopal’s Habibganj train station on October 31 when she was returning home after attending her coaching classes, leading to widespread protests across the state.

The police too came in the line of fire after it was found that they had delayed in registering the FIR. The bill proposes terms ranging between three and seven years for harassment (first offence). For second and subsequent offences, the minimum jail term will be seven to 10 years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Stalking will invite jail term of three years for the first offence. Second and subsequent offences will be punished with minimum three years and maximum seven years in jail and fine of Rs 1 lakh.