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President signs Ordinance on Sexual Crimes

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TNI Bureau: President Pranab Mukherjee has signed the ordinance on sexual assault against women, despite the opposition from all women’s groups. The ordinance will take effect immediately, while it has to be passed by the Parliament within six months. The women’s groups have planned protests at Jantar Mantar today.

A person convicted in a rape case will be jailed for a minimum term of seven years, while gangrape will lead to a minimum terms of 20 years. In both cases, the punishment can be extended to life or death conviction if the victim dies. However, it has criminalized the consensual sex between the minors unless they are married, which did not go well with the women’s group. They allege that that would give further ammo to the moral police and result in more honour killing cases.

The ordinance further introduced voyeurism, stalking, disrobing of women and acid attacks as specific offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as approved by the Union Cabinet on Friday. Also, the Judges, Magistrates and Armed Force personnel cannot be directly prosecuted. Sanction is required to proceed against them in sexual crime cases.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 has replaced the term “rape” with sexual assault. It also spared the offenders of “marital rape”, which the women’s groups have objected to. They believe that the ordinance does not give an option to the women to say YES or NO during sex.

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