J&K Cabinet approves ordinance for death penalty for raping children

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JAMMU: J&K state cabinet Tuesday approved an ordinance providing death penalty to those guilty of raping children, a development that comes in the wake of massive outrage over the Kathua minor rape and murder case.
After the Centre gave a go ahead to an ordinance to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act only last week, the state cabinet that met here today under the chairpersonship of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also approved the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 and the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Children from Sexual Violence Ordinance, 2018. “In cases of rape, where the victim is a child up to the age of 12, we have provided for death penalty to those found guilty. Significantly the government also shifted the ‘burden of proof’ on the accused, while bringing provisions to ensure time-bound fast track investigation and trial in such cases,” said Minister for Law Abdul Haq Khan while addressing media after the cabinet meeting.
“Both the Ordinances will prove useful and will act as a deterrent with regard to violence against women in general and sexual violence in particular in the state,” Haq Khan said.
As per the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, committing rape on women under 16 years of age has been made punishable with rigorous imprisonment for 20 years and may extend to life sentence, which shall mean remainder of that person’s natural life, committing rape on women under 12 years of age has been made punishable with death sentence.
Gang-rape of women under 16 years of age has been made punishable with imprisonment for life, which shall mean remainder of that person’s natural life, gang-rape of women under 12 years of age has been made punishable with death sentence. According to the ordinance, investigation in such cases is to be completed within a period of two months whereas trial is to be completed within six months and reasons for any delay be communicated to the High Court.