MHA seeks cabinet nod for Bill which allows death penalty for rape of minors

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sent the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to the Union cabinet for approval, to replace the Ordinance brought in April, soon after the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua and another woman in Unnao.

MHA officials confirmed that a proposal namely Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which allows courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below 12 years of age, has been sent to the Cabinet. After an approval from the Cabinet, the Bill will be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament, starting July 18, they said.

Highlights of the Bill:

It provides for stringent punishment including the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.

The minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from the rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.

In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convicts’ “natural life”.

The punishment for the gang-rape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict, another official said.

Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided with the minimum jail term being 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. The gang-rape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death.

The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The time limit for the investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within two months.

The deadline for the completion of a trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed.

There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years. It has also been prescribed that a court has to give notice of 15 days to a public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.

The number of reported cases of rapes of children increased in India by 82% in 2016 compared to 2015. A climate of violence, social and economic insecurity, alienation, and a progressive undermining of the status of women and children seem to have given an impetus to carry out crimes against women and children.

Therefore, the legal system must give a clear signal that we as a nation consider the rape of children below the age of 12 as among the most heinous of offenses. Making such crimes punishable by capital punishment certainly gives such a signal.

Statistics have not been able to prove or disprove the efficacy of capital punishment as a deterrent. While the U.K. has seen an increase in murders since 1965 when capital punishment for murder was removed from the statute book, Canada has not seen any such impact since it abolished the death penalty in 1976. The underlying socio-economic conditions in a society that cause crimes seem to have as much of an impact on the increase or decrease of crimes as the law does.

It is not the severity of the punishment but the certainty and uniformity of it which will reduce crime. Even for capital punishment to work as a deterrent, the fairness of the investigation, the certainty of conviction, and the speed of the trial are vital. With the police and judicial independence being under a cloud, especially after the incidents in Kathua and Unnao, the deterrent value of capital punishment seems diminished unless police reforms and fast-track courts are a part of the package.

Please follow and like us:

UN Security Council adopts resolution to protect children in armed conflict

The Security Council adopted a resolution aimed at a framework for mainstreaming protection, rights, well-being, and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle.

Resolution 2427, which won unanimous approval of the 15 members of the council, strongly condemns the recruitment and use of children by parties to the armed conflict as well as their re-recruitment, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and abductions.

The resolution also condemns attacks against schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access by parties to armed conflict and all other violations of international law committed against children in situations of armed conflict.

It demands that all relevant parties immediately put an end to such practices and take special measures to protect children.

The resolution also emphasizes the responsibility of all states to put an end to impunity and to investigate and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children.

The resolution reiterates the Security Council’s readiness to adopt targeted and graduated measures against persistent perpetrators of violations and abuses committed against children.

It calls on member states and the United Nations to mainstream child protection into all relevant activities in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations with the aim of sustaining peace and preventing conflict.

The resolution stresses the importance of long-term and sustainable funding for mental health and psychosocial programming in humanitarian contexts and ensuring all affected children receive timely and sufficient support, and encouraging donors to integrate mental health and psychosocial services in all humanitarian responses.

Over 21,000 cases of grave violations of children’s rights in armed conflict have been verified by the United Nations for 2017, a drastic increase from the previous year with 15,500 violations, according to an annual report of the UN secretary-general on children and armed conflict that was released last week.

Among the violations in 2017, some 15,000 were perpetrated by non-state armed groups and about 6,000 were committed by government forces, according to the report.

Please follow and like us:

Suresh Prabhu launches mobile app ReUnite to trace missing, abandoned kids

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday launched a mobile application — ReUnite — to trace missing and abandoned children in India. “This effort to reunite parents whose children have gone missing is a wonderful use of technology to address real-life social challenges,” he said.

The app is multiuser where parents and citizens can upload pictures of children, and provide detailed description like name, birthmark, address, report to the police station, search and identify missing kids.

The app is multiuser where parents and citizens can upload pictures of children, and provide detailed description like name, birthmark, address, report to the police station, search and identify missing kids.

It is India’s largest movement for the protection of children and works along with law enforcement agencies and policymakers. It was founded by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.

BBA has played a very important role in the formulation of several laws for the protection of child’s rights. It began during the Nithari case in 2006 which finally culminated with the Supreme Court passing the landmark judgment in 2013 ordering that FIR has to be lodged in all cases of missing children.

Please follow and like us:

India among over 90 nations without paid paternity leave for new dads: UNICEF

Almost two-thirds of the world’s children under one-year-old, nearly 90 million, live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave, the UNICEF analysis said.

India and Nigeria, which have high infant populations, are among the 92 countries do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies.

The UN agency noted that around the world, momentum for family-friendly policies was growing. It cited the example of India, where officials are proposing a Paternity Benefit Bill for consideration in the next session of Parliament which would allow fathers up to three months of paid paternity leave.

According to a new UNICEF analysis, India is among almost 90 countries in the world without national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies.

In eight countries across the world, including the United States which is home to nearly four million infants, there was no paid maternity or paternity leave policy.

Other countries with high infant populations, including Brazil and Congo, all have national paid paternity leave policies, albeit offering relatively short-term entitlements.

Evidence suggests that when fathers bond with their babies from the beginning of life, they are more likely to play a more active role in the child’s development. Research also suggests that when children positively interact with their fathers, they have better psychological health, self-esteem, and life-satisfaction in the long-term.

Also, positive and meaningful interaction with mothers and fathers from the very beginning helps shape children’s brain growth and development for life, making them healthier and happier, and increasing their ability to learn.

Around the world, momentum for family-friendly policies is growing. For example, India has proposed a Paternity Benefit Bill for consideration in the next session of Parliament which would allow fathers up to three months of paid paternity leave.

UNICEF has urged governments to implement national family-friendly policies that support early childhood development, including paid paternity leave, to help provide parents with the time, resources and information they need to care for their children.

UNICEF has launched ‘Super Dads’ campaign which aims to break down barriers preventing fathers from playing an active role in their young children’s development.

The campaign celebrates Father’s Day – recognized in more than 80 countries in June – and focuses on the importance of love, play, protection and good nutrition for the healthy development of young children’s brains.

Please follow and like us: