India: President Assents to Anti-Rape Bill

President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, an anti-rape law that codifies many of the recommendations proposed in a February 3 ordinance on rape and sexual assault. The ordinance, and subsequent law, were drafted in response to the violent gang-rape that occurred in December, 2012, and are intended to provide a comprehensive criminal framework for combating violence against women in India.

The new law mandates a minimum 20-year prison sentence for criminals convicted of rape. It authorizes capital punishment for rapists whose victims die or enter into a vegetative state as a result of the rape, and for repeat offenders. In contrast to the ordinance, however, the law maintains a gender-specific definition of rape, which stipulates that only men can be convicted of rape.

The law also criminalizes stalking and voyeurism, making them non-bailable offenses if committed more than once. Further, the law establishes sentences up to life imprisonment for acid attacks.The law provides a minimum 10-year prison sentence for someone convicted of trafficking a minor, and a minimum 14-year prison sentence for someone convicted of trafficking more than one minor, with minor being defined as under the age of 18.

Compiled from: “President Gives His Assent to Anti-Rape Bill,” The Times of India (April 4 2013).