A parliamentary panel that scrutinised the criminal law (amendment) bill, 2012, and the ordinance promulgated by the government last month regarding the safety of women prescribed death sentence for extreme cases of rape. The panel also supported the government’s decision not to accept marital rape as a criminal offence, saying it could lead to “practical difficulties”.
The standing committee on home agreed with the view of the home ministry that criminalising marital rape would weaken traditional family values in India, and that marriage presumes consent. “... it has practical difficulties. If litigations are allowed, then the family system will be disturbed,” committee chairman M Venkaiah Naidu of the BJP said.
The panel suggested that the president should not consider clemency pleas in rape and murder cases and said mercy petitions should be disposed of within three months and reasons for granting clemency should be made public.
The committee also recommended publicising the names of sex offenders after conviction. It has supported government’s view that in case the rape victim either dies or is left in a vegetative state, the rapist be given death sentence. However, following differences it did not recommend reducing the age of juveniles.
The parliamentary standing committee on home also vetoed judicial panel’s recommendation on removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the statute, but found a via-media by incorporating sexual offences committed by uniformed personnel in Section 376 (2).
Naidu said a wrong impression was created that the armed forces were exempted from any action for committing sexual assaults.
The new clause says the member of armed forces in the area by virtue of deployment by the central or a state government committing sexual act shall face a rigorous imprisonment of not less than 10 years but may be extended for life with fine.