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Death penalty for rape: Centre, states fail to reach consensus

Last updated on: January 04, 2013 19:49 IST

The central and state governments on Friday failed to evolve a consensus on imposing the death penalty for rape convicts.

The day-long meeting of chief secretaries and director generals of police, convened by the Centre in the wake of the gangrape of a girl in Delhi, discussed threadbare various ways to curb crimes against women and agreed to take steps for the protection of women and initiating speedy trial and conviction of criminals.

"There is no consensus on amending the law to include capital punishment for rape. One or two chief secretaries have suggested certain ways but majority kept mum on the issue," said a senior officer who attended the meeting.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said all the suggestions, including death penalty for rape, put forward by the chief secretaries and DGPs would be considered by the central government.

The representatives of state governments and top home ministry officials said rape convicts should be sentenced to life till death without any leniency or without parole.

The government had in December 4, 2012, introduced a bill in Parliament seeking to amend the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, by replacing the word 'rape' by the words 'sexual assault' to make the offence of sexual assault gender-neutral and also widening its scope. It proposes to enhance the punishment from seven years jail to a life term.

There was general consensus on the definition of juvenile by lowering the age bar to 16 from 18 years in the conference.

One of the six accused in the Delhi gangrape case was juvenile and many people fear that he may escape punishment for the crime because of his juvenile status.

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