Sun, Feb 03, 2013 - Page 5 News List

India’s Cabinet calls for tougher laws on rape, death penalty


India’s Cabinet accepted most of the recommendations of a commission for toughening laws for crimes against women, including increasing the penalty for rape.

The panel was set up in response to the fatal gang rape in December last year of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi.

The Cabinet recommended on Friday that Indian President Pranab Mukherjee issue an ordinance to turn the proposals into law, Minister of Law Ashwini Kumar said.

The commission recommended an increase in the penalty for rape to 20 years in prison and suggested life terms for gang rape.

Kumar did not give details.

However, the Press Trust of India news agency said the Cabinet went beyond the panel’s recommendations by providing for death sentences in cases where a rape leads to death of the victim or leaves them in a “persistent vegetative state.”

The Cabinet also recommended including crimes like stalking, cyberstalking and voyeurism, and imposing stiff punishments for such crimes.

“We believe that this is a progressive piece of legislation and is consistent with felt sensitivities of the nation in the aftermath of an outrageous gang-rape in New Delhi,” Kumar said.

Police say the young woman and a male friend were attacked after boarding the bus on Dec. 16 last year. The attackers beat the man and raped the woman, inflicting massive internal injuries with a metal bar, police said.

The victims were dumped on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

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