Amidst outrage over a series of rape incidents of children across the country, the Indian cabinet on Saturday approved an ordinance to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to introduce the death penalty for rape of children younger than 12 years.
Official sources said that the criminal law amendment ordinance seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to introduce a new provision to sentence convicts of such crimes to capital punishment.
The cabinet meeting was held within hours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s return home from a tour of Sweden and England.
The ordinance comes against the backdrop of the alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua and a seven-year-old child in Gujarat's Surat district recently. The rape of a teenager in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district also triggered a national outcry.
The ordinance would be sent to the President for his approval.
The Modi government had told the Supreme Court on Friday that it is actively considering amending the penal law to introduce death penalty for child rapists.
The Indian government on April 20 said it was looking to introduce the death penalty for child rapists after nationwide outrage over the brutal gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl.
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