President signs anti-rape bill
President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the anti-rape bill, providing enhanced punishment for rape, making stalking and voyeurism criminal offences and fixing the age of consent for sex at 18.
“The President of India has accorded his assent to the Bill on April 2 (Tuesday) and it will now be called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013,” said a statement by the union home ministry on Wednesday.
The bill incorporates suggestions of the Justice JS Verma Committee, formed after the brutal Delhi gang-rape of Dec 16 last year, to make anti-rape laws stronger.
It provides for rigorous imprisonment for a minimum of 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment, to those convicted for the offence of gang-rape, and also defines and prescribes punishment for stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment.
The key points
>> The law maintains death as the maximum penalty in case of rape where the victims dies or slips into a coma.
>> It also defines stalking and voyeurism with punishments up to seven years.
>> The minimum age under law for consensual sex has been retained at 18.
>> It also provides for imprisonment of at least 10 years for causing permanent damage to a woman by throwing acid.
>> The law considers attempts to disrobe a woman in private a crime.
>> The law includes a provision which makes it mandatory for all hospitals to provide medical treatment to rape victims, failing which hospitals could face up to one year of imprisonment and fine.