New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2013 ensuring stringent punishment for crimes against women.
This bill was unanimously adopted by a voice vote after negating the opposition-sponsored amendments.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, while replying to the debate, said tough provisions have been made in the bill to deter offenders committing crimes against women. .
Cutting across party lines, the lawmakers pleaded for tougher laws to deal with rising crimes against women.
Majority of the members cautioned the government of possible misuse of the law. The members also called for safeguards so that man-woman relationship in the society is not put to strain.
The bill widens the definition of rape and prescribes punishment, which may extend to death sentence if the victim dies during the commission of offence or is reduced to persistent vegetative state.
In case of gang rape, the punishment will be for a minimum of twenty years extendable to life. The amendments also seek specific provisions for punishment for the offences of causing grievous hurt by acid attack, punishment for stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment.
The Union Cabinet earlier on Monday approved the amendments to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 keeping the age of consent for sex to 18 instead of 16.
Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath after the Cabinet meeting here said the offence of stalking will be bailable on the first instance and thereafter it will be non-bailable crime.
An all-party meeting held two rounds of discussions today to clear the differences on some of the contentious clauses in the bill.
The differences were regarding the proposed significant changes including lowering the age of consent from 18 years to 16 years and handing down stricter punishment for various crimes against women like rape and acid attack and vouyerism.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi party (SP) and other political parties demanded that the age of consent for sex be 18 years and not 16 as envisaged in the Ordinance.
They contended that since the minimum age for marriage is 18 years, the age of consent should be the same.