Madhya Pradesh enacts law to prescribe death penalty for rape of girls aged 12 years and below

The Madhya Pradesh legislature has passed an amendment to the Indian Penal Code to prescribe death sentence as the highest punishment for rape of girls aged 12 and below; becoming the first state where those convicted of such rapes will face the death penalty. The bill also seeks to increase the punishment for offenders convicted for a second time of forcefully disrobing a woman. Under the present law, only such sexual assault that results in death or permanent vegetative state of the victim is punishable with death. Otherwise, only repeat offenders can be sentenced to death. The Protection of Children from Sexual offences Act, 2012 does not prescribe death as the maximum sentence for any of the offences therein.

The bill proposes changes to sections 354, 376 and 493 of IPC and Sections 29, 110, 198 and 437 of CrPc. Apart from introducing death penalty for rape, the bill also seeks to amend section 493 of the IPC to introduce the offence of establishing sexual relations upon a false promise of marriage. Called the Dand Vidhi (Madhya Pradesh Sanshodhan) Vidheyak, 2017, the bill is yet to receive Presidential assent.