New Delhi: A person in authority convicted of rape will have to spend rest of his natural life in jail, according to a proposal in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill which is likely to be taken up by the Union Cabinet on Thursday. The fresh Bill will replace the ordinance on crimes against women promulgated in February.
The proposal will replace the provision in the ordinance which has subscribed life imprisonment as the maximum punishment for those in authority committing rape. The person in authority has been described as a police officer, a doctor or a staffer of a hospital, a jailer or a warden of a remand home.
The fresh bill, which will also replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012 introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2012. The bill retains the provision that if rape leads to death of the victim or leaves her in a vegetative state, it can attract death penalty.
While the ordinance said the statement of the victim may be videographed, the bill makes the provision mandatory. It also makes the presence of a woman officer - whether police or civil - to be present when the statement of the victim is being recorded.
On the issue of voyeurism, the Law Ministry has opposed a provision that if someone takes pictures of a woman with her permission, it would not amount to an offence. "We have asked the Home Ministry to remove the exception as a woman will find it difficult to prove that she had agreed to such a thing," an official said.