CRIMINAL LAW AMENDMENT BILL, 2018
Author : Taniya Tejan
The Criminal law amendment bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 30th July 2018 and Rajya Sabha on 6th August 2018. The president of India gave his consent on 11th August 2018 then the criminal law amendment becomes act, 2018 and came into force. This bill aims to increase the punishment for rape of a girl who is below 12 years and below 16 years and also added some important sections under Indian penal code related to sexual offences and it also amended the investigation period for minor rape was two months from the date after information so that there shall be a speedy trial for the cases related to minor child rape and the accused shall be punished as soon as and also death penalty for them. And it also amended under the Indian Evidence act. Before this bill, the changes also made under IPC in 2013 where the new offences are added under IPC related to offences against women. like acid attack, stalking, voyeurism etc. and the major reason behind this amendment was “NIRBAHAYA CASE”.
However, the Kathua case and Unnao case has taken a major role for amending the penal provisions and POSCO act because the crime related to minor rape case becomes very popular and their murder cases also increase. That is the main reason for the criminal law amendment bill, 2018 to enhance the punishment for such type of heinous crimes related to the minor.
PURPOSE OF THIS BILL
- Enhancing / Increasing the punishment of rape of a child.
- Replace the criminal law (amendment) ordinance.
- Amends relevant section under Indian Penal Code(IPC),1860, Criminal procedure code (CRPC) and Protection of children from sexual offences(POSCO) act,2012
Amendment under IPC
As we see under Indian penal Code,1860 the rape definition is provided under section 375 and the punishment for rape is given under section 376(1) it says whoever commits rape shall be punishable with an imprisonment minimum up to seven-year or maximum life imprisonment and shall also be liable to pay a fine and sec 376(2) provides if rape was committed by any police officers, public servant, hospital staff, teacher and by a guardian, relative etc. then he shall be punishable with the imprisonment of 10years or which may extend life imprisonment and shall also be liable to fine.
The reform made by the criminal law amendment act, 2018 is under section 376 was the punishment for rape is minimum10 years or which may extend to the life imprisonment and fine. And if the rape was committed to a below 16 years girl then the punishment is minimum 20 years or which may extend to life imprisonment and along with fine.
New offences under IPC
376AB-Whoever commits rape of a child who is under 12 years then he shall be punishable under this section for a term with imprisonment of 20 years maximum or till his death and with fine.
376DA- If one or more person has the common intention or group has done gang rape of a girl who is under 16 years old then they shall be punished with life imprisonment and shall also be liable to fine, to meet the expenses of medical cost and rehabilitation.
376DB- If the 12 years girl was gang-raped by one or more person then they shall be punished with imprisonment of 20 years or death and along with fine, to meet the hospital expense and rehabilitation cost after raped.
If any women between the ages of 12-16 years were gang-raped then the punishment is up to 10 years or till life imprisonment.
AMENDMENT UNDER POSCO ACT, 2012
Section 42 of POSCO which is an alternative punishment section was amended includes the amendment made in IPC this amends states that if an offence is committed under any section of POSCO or any specific section of IPC the highest punishment will be applied.
Amendment under CRPC
- The criminal law amendment, 2018 reduces the time of investigation which is within two months the case of minor rape or gang rape was completed of a child who is below 12 years and 16 years. Before this amendment sec 173 of c.r.p.c states that the investigation with the rape of minor child shall be completed within three months without any delay.
- Section 438 of C.R.P.C provides the provision for issued of anticipatory bail if any person has reasoned that he may be arrested for non-bailable offences then he may apply for anticipatory bail under a high court or the court of session. But after the criminal law amendment, 2018 the anticipatory bail is not issued for any person who has done rape of a minor child who is below 16 years old and no court shall have the power to grant anticipatory bail for a minor child rapist.
- If any appeal lies under section 374 or section 377 against a sentence identified with rape case must be discarded inside a half year.
The Amendment under the Indian Evidence Act,
Under Sec 53A and Sec 146 of the Indian evidence, the act states that the previous sexual experience or character of the victim with any person shall not be a relevant issue of such consent or while deciding the question of legality. the provision has been extended to the minor rape case who is below 12 years and below 16 years.
The criminal law amendment has ignored the one important section of Indian evidence act that is section 114A, which provides that if the fact of sexual intercourse is proved and the consent of women was not there then accused shall be punished under sec 376 of IPC. It fails to give benefit under sec 114A if the girl was gang rape thereby leaving a loophole when it comes to gang rape.
The criminal law amendment bill, 2018 is made for increasing the punishment for rape of women and minor who are below 12 years which is now 20years of imprisonment and along with fine or death. This amendment built a good relationship between the state and its citizens. All kinds of rape under penal provision has been made strict after the amendments.