Group of Ministers agrees to bring down age of consent to 16
A group of ministers (GoM) Wednesday reached a consensus on the anti-rape bill with an agreement on replacing the word 'sexual assault' with 'rape' and reducing the age of consent from 18 to 16, sources said.
Stalking and voyeurism had been made non-bailable and there will be no penalty on false complaints.
The union cabinet is expected to take up the draft Thursday. The cabinet had deferred a decision on the anti-rape bill Tuesday due to lack of unanimity. The GoM was set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve the differences.
The GoM agreed on replacing the word 'sexual assault' with 'rape' and on reducing the age of consent from 18 to 16, sources said.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had Tuesday expressed confidence that that differences would be resolved and the government will be able to secure parliamentary approval for the legislation by March 22.
The bill is expected to be in parliament only next week as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has called an all-party meet to evolve consensus over the issue March 18.
He has spoken to the Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party leaders on the legislation, sources said.