NEW DELHI: With Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday signing the ordinance on sexual assault which was issued by the government on Friday, rapists face the death penalty in cases where the victim dies or goes into a vegetative state.
In a country which gave the term eve-teasing to the world, eve-teasers now face stringent punishment as it becomes a criminal act. So eve-teasing is no more a minor offence in India.
The ordinance, which aims to amend the Criminal Code, the Penal Code and the Evidence Act and comes into force immediately, is the result of the nationwide outrage over the gangrape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi in December.
The five accused in the case face trial in a fast-track court here. A minor will be tried separately.
With the ordinance putting such crimes as the Delhi gangrape in the “rarest of rare’ category, the five accused now definitely face the gallows.
In other rape cases, the courts can now lock the criminals for a minimum of 20 years or even hand down life sentence.
Eve-teasing and stalking, which have been treated as minor offences till now, also become serious criminal offences.
Acid attacks and disrobing of women will now attract far stricter punishment.
The ordinance is likely to be passed into a law in the coming budget session of parliament.
The government had appointed the Verma committee after the Delhi gangrape to recommend measures to stop crimes against women. But by promulgating the ordinance, it has ignored many of its recommendations which included criminalization of martial rapes and sexual assaults by men of the armed forces.
There have been persistent allegations of rapes by the personnel of the armed forces in the north-east and Kashmir regions of the country.