Government Approves Death Penalty For Rapists Who Assault Children

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Reports had surfaced that on April 11, the day the Association called for a Jammu-wide bandh, its office bearers had made attempts to prevent the police from submitting the charge sheet in the case to the Chief Judicial Magistrate at Kathua.

An official spokesman said that the Cabinet, which met at the Civil Secretariat in Jammu, approved the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 and the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Children from Sexual Violence Ordinance, 2018.

Significantly, the government also shifted the "burden of proof" on the accused, while bringing provisions to ensure time-bound fast track investigation and trial in such cases, a minister said.

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Sub-inspector Anand Dutta and special police officer (SPO) Deepak Kumar Khujaria filed a petition in the J&K High Court on Monday. They had also demanded that the Kathua rape and murder case be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Children from Sexual Violence Ordinance, 2018, will provide alternative punishment for an act or omission constituting an offence under the ordinance and also under various provisions of the state Penal Code relating to sexual assault. Those guilty of raping a victim, aged between 13 and 16, will get lifer.

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

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The ordinance also provides that court has to give notice of 15 days to Public Prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.

"In the process of determination as to whether release of juvenile on bail would defeat ends of justice or not, factors like depravity or crime, its horrific nature and resultant public outrage, violence wrought on the victim and manner in which (a) child of flesh and blood was brutalized can not be muffled", the judge said.

The duo sought a CBI probe. Police Stations and hospitals will be provided with special forensic kits for rape cases.

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