Today President Pranab Mukherjee signed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill which gives India a strong anti-rape law. The Criminal Law Amendment Bill was earlier passed by the two Houses of Parliament.
The Criminal Law “Amendment” Bill, 2013 was moved in the Rajya Sabha by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde where he had termed it as a “unique law”. The Home Minister had said the government is open to further improvement if there is such a need. Replying to queries, Shinde said the purpose of the Bill is to provide stringent punishment also for offences like stalking, voyeurism, acid attacks and human trafficking. The new law replaces an ordinance promulgated on February 3, which will expire on April 4. It seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
It has provisions for handing out death sentence to offenders who may have been convicted earlier for such crimes. The Bill, for the first time, defines stalking and voyeurism as non-bailable offences if repeated for a second time. Perpetrators of acid attack will attract a 10-year jail term.