Delhi High Court.

Delhi High Court.

Delhi High Court questions basis of ordinance on death penalty for rapists

Any study or research conducted while clearing ordinance on Pocso: HC

Agency Report | New Delhi | 23 April, 2018 | 11:40 PM

The Delhi High Court has questioned why the ordinance on amending the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, to provide for the death penalty to those convicted of raping a child up to 12 years old, was cleared without conducting any research on the issue.

The observation by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar came while dealing with a plea seeking to strike down the amendments made in the rape law post the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape incident here as they are “being abused”.

Asking if any study or research was conducted while clearing the ordinance on Pocso, the court observed that it seemed to come after people started demanding strict punishment against the rapists of minors.

It said that the ordinance is also silent on granting welfare to the rape victims and does not deal with issues related to educating and sensitising youth and juveniles on sexual offences against women, especially minors.

On Sunday President Ram Nath Kovind approved an ordinance to provide death penalty for those convicted of raping girls younger than 12 years besides clearing another ordinance to confiscate property of fugitive economic offenders.

The President promulgated The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, approved by the Cabinet on Saturday, that seeks to provide effective deterrence against rape and instil a sense of security among women, particularly young girls.

The ordinance amends the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The ordinance comes against the backdrop of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, the rape of a teenager in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh and similar crimes in other parts of the country.

The court, hearing a plea filed by academician Madhu Purnima Kishwar, listed the matter for September.

Kishwar’s plea has sought striking down of some of the provisions of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, which provides for amendments to the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and Code of Criminal Procedure on laws related to sexual offences.

The plea had also sought a direction to reconsider the case in which a sentence of imprisonment has been passed post the amendments.

After the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman on December 16, 2012, a committee under the chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge was constituted to suggest amendments to the criminal law to sternly deal with sexual assault cases. (IANS)