New Delhi, November 23: A high-level committee constituted by the Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram, last year to study the issue of amendments to rape laws are all set to recommend that sex with a girl under 18 years of age, even if it is a woman considered a criminal offense, punishable by seven years imprisonment, reported The Indian Express.
A husband, if she has sex with his lawful wife, who is under 18 years of age, commits an offense under the amended law. In short, this means that marrying a girl under 18 years will be a criminal offense rather than a civil offense as is the case now. Remains to be seen how the Muslim groups, especially the mullahs, react to the proposed changes as under Islamic law a woman is considered old enough to marry the day they reach puberty, despite his real age.
The commission also will recommend that sex with a girl under 18, even if consensual, should be a criminal offense.
"Today, despite the minimum age for marriage for girls is 18 years, unless one of the two parties in the objects of marriage and file a complaint, an agency of law enforcement may have into account. What we are proposing is that this should be a crime where the police can take cognizance suo motu, "said a commission member.
In its report the commission, which is headed by Union Home Secretary GK Pillai and Secretaries of the Ministries covered in the Union of Legal Affairs Legislative Department, Women and Children, Member Secretary, Law Commission India, Member Secretary of the National Commission for Women and Shashi Bhushan, Consultant (judicial) in the Ministry of Interior, will also present a draft law on rape laws.
One of the key recommendations of the committee is that he wants an independent clause in the Indian Penal Code to deal with the crime of acid attack. At present, cases of acid attacks on girls by lovers of squash are discussed in Section 326 of the IPC. Now the group wants to separate clauses - 326 (A) and (B) - to be added to the CIA to deal with this horrible crime. The minimum penalty for the accused in acid release cases, the panel said, should be 10 years in prison and a fine that could reach 10 lakh rupees. The amount of the fine, the panel said, should be given to the victim of acid attack.
Moreover, even if no one gets hurt in acid attack, the perpetrators will attract a prison sentence of at least five years and fine.Another important recommendation of the panel is that a new crime related to child abuse is added the CPI. The minimum penalty in these cases is seven years.
The group also wants the Article 198 of the Criminal Procedure Code be amended to substitute "sexual relations" with "sexual assault." Another important recommendation is to amend Section 146 of the Evidence Act 1872 to make it impossible for the accused or his / her attorney to the moral of the rape victim's previous sexual experience, etc.
Sexual assault by a police officer or any government official or politician is also going to be a crime punishable by imprisonment of not less than 10 years.