India – Death Penalty for Rape of Girl below 12 years approved by President

Law Allowing Death Penalty For Rape Of Children Cleared By President

The Home Ministry drafted Criminal Law (Amendment) Act stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 16 and 12 years.

INDIA – By Executive Order, Not Parliament, India introduces death penalty for rape of girls below 12…

India has  sadly just introduced the death penalty for rape of a minor. This was not done after Parliament debates and approves a law – but rather by way of an Executive Order, which was approved by Cabinet on Saturday(21/4/2018), and subsequently by the President…This is also Election year, and the new ordinance/order also is gender biased…

 

With regard to rape or gang rape of a girl below the age of 12, the cabinet said the accused would be sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment, imprisonment for life or death.

Death penalty for rape of minors: President approves ordinance

TNN | Apr 23, 2018, 04:05 IST

 NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved the ordinance to strengthen the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

In the wake of an increase in incidents of rape of minors, the cabinet had on Saturday approved a number of measures to amend the POCSO Act.The ordinance seeks death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years of age and stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape particularly of girls below 16 years.
The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment. In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment.

The punishment for gang rape of a girl under 16 years will be imprisonment for the rest of the life of the convict.With regard to rape or gang rape of a girl below the age of 12, the cabinet said the accused would be sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment, imprisonment for life or death.The cabinet also decided to put in place several measures for speedy probe and trial of rape cases. It has also provided for a six month time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases.- Times of India, 23/4/2018

India’s death penalty for rapists of young girls could push them to kill

With the majority of rapes committed by someone known to the victim, the new law could drive offenders to murder to avoid detection

A man walks past a graffiti depicting a message in protest against rape, in Jammu, on 22 April
A man walks past graffiti protesting against rape, in Jammu. Reporting the crime in India’s patriarchal family structure is often fraught with victim shaming and further alienation. Photograph: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

On Saturday India’s government approved the death penalty for convicted rapists of girls under the age of 12, amid a groundswell of public outrage following the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Jammu and Kashmir state.

The shocking case involved a girl from the Bakarwal nomadic tribe, who was out grazing her horses when she was abducted, drugged and murdered after a week of torture and repeated rape. It led to a nationwide outcry for swifter justice.

However, the hastily issued executive order is facing criticism from activists and politicians, who say the death penalty, usually meted out for severe crimes in India, will not be a deterrent to child rapists without an overhaul of the criminal justice system.

“I am afraid this [executive order] has very little credibility because what is required is certainty of punishment,” the leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Brinda Karat, told reporters.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau data from 2016, in 94.6% of cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim – usually a brother, father or someone from the family’s social circle. Reporting rape in India’s patriarchal family structure is often fraught with victim shaming and further alienation.

Child rights activists fear the introduction of the death penalty will make families more likely to cover up sexual crimes, and that rapists might kill their victims to avoid detection.

Critics are also concerned that the order, which was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet on Saturday, makes no mention of boys. In a country where male children often grow up in an atmosphere that discourages them from showing vulnerability, experts say such a discriminatory legal provision will fail boys who have been sexually assaulted.

Unlike the current Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) 2012, which is gender-neutral and defines any person under 18 as a child, the new ordinance will stop boys who have been sexually abused from seeking the same justice accorded to a girl of their age, says gay rights activist Harish Iyer.

“I principally stand against the death penalty. This discriminatory legislation implies what boys are taught growing up – that they have to be the protector and not the protected. Children are vulnerable to sexual assault, irrespective of gender,” Iyer said.

A nationwide survey of crimes against children conducted by the ministry of women and child development in 2007 found that half of India’s children had been sexually abused.

Iyer said the new executive order was a shortcut for an overhaul of a criminal justice system that often discriminates against the poor. “This is sexism of a different nature, it favours one gender. What about protection of intersex children? Unless the crime is female foeticide, which is specifically gender-oriented, this is a shortcut for real measures.”

A man beats an effigy of one of the rapists at a protest against three rapes of girls, in Ahmedabad, India.
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A man beats an effigy of one of the rapists at a protest against three rapes of girls, in Ahmedabad, India. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

He said the government should prioritise fast-track courts, child-friendly police stations, and a national registry of sex offenders. The new law proposes stricter punishment for convicted rapists of children under 16 years of age. Its definition of the victims and proposed age limit has triggered a debate about categorising victims of the same crime.

“What’s the explanation for death penalty for ‘gang rape of children below 12 years’? The state is a man. Why else would the reproductive age of a girl be the determining factor for the kind of punishment meted out to the rapists?” journalist Kota Neelima wrote in a Facebook post.

In 2016 India recorded an alarmingly low conviction rate (18.9%) for crimes against women. In that year, of all the child rape cases that came before the courts under the Pocso, less than 3% ended in convictions.

An issue of such a grave nature should have had a public discourse with participation from civil society stakeholders. By its nature, an executive order can be announced by the president of India on recommendation from the federal cabinet and does not require consultation.

After the gang rape of Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012, India introduced tougher rape laws and launched fast-track courts, but the measures have not deterred violent sexual crimes.

In addition, homelessness and poverty increase the vulnerability of children to sexual predators as parents have to leave them on their own to go to work, making them easy targets.

In an election year, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to be seen as proactive in taking strong steps to make India safer for women. However, it is implementation, the real challenge in India, that will determine its true intention.- The Guardian, 24/4/2018

INDIA – Hoshiarpur boy’s two killers to be hanged on October 25

Hoshiarpur boy’s two killers to be hanged on October 25

  • Harpreet Kaur, Hindustan Times, Hoshiarpur
  • |

  • Updated: Oct 03, 2016 22:45 IST

The parents of Hoshiarpur boy Abhi Verma, who was kidnapped and murdered for ransom at 16 in February 2005, have welcomed the orders to execute convicts Vikram Walia and Jasvir Singh in the wake of the President’s rejecting their mercy petition.

Ravi Verma and his wife, Anita, are relieved that a long legal battle has come good. “Justice will prevail after almost 12 years,” said Ravi Verma. “The execution of the convicts will not bring our child back but it will deter those who play with the lives of others.”

Walia and Jasvir Singh will be hanged in Patiala jail at 9am on October 25. The two along with Jasvir’s wife, Sonia, had kidnapped Abhi, a Class 9 student of DAV School here, and killed him with an overdose of anaesthesia. Walia and Jasvir Singh were then in their early twenties. Walia lived in Model Town here and Jasvir at his aunt’s in Milap Nagar, the house where they kept the boy.

Mastermind Walia was known to goldsmith Ravi Verma. After kidnapping Verma’s son, he even went to his house with Jasvir, and offered fake sympathies. Even after killing the boy, they continued to demand `50 lakh ransom from his family.

Sonia, Abhi’s former tutor, was involved in everything from the kidnapping and intoxication of the boy to the destruction of evidence. They dumped the body in a field in Jalandhar district, from where it was recovered on the disclosure statement of Jasvir.

On December 21, 2006, the district and sessions judge gave death penalty to all three. On May 30, 2008, the high court upheld the sentence. In January 2010, the Supreme Court commuted only Sonia’s sentence to life imprisonment.

To prolong the trial, Walia and Jasvir challenged capital punishment awarded under Section 364-A (kidnapping for ransom) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but, in August 2015, a three-member Supreme Court bench headed by justice TS Thakur dismissed that appeal. Jasvir and Sonia sought conjugal rights from the court to bear a child but that, too, was declined. Walia and Jasvir filed a mercy petition with the President, which he turned down this August.

Issuing death warrants, the Hoshiarpur district and sessions judge has ordered the Patiala Central Jail superintendent to make necessary arrangements for the execution. His legal aid, Maninder Pal Singh, said that the convicts had exhausted all their legal means and their hanging was imminent. – Hindustan Times, 3/10/2016