The Parliament passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 with the Rajya Sabha clearing it by a voice vote. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill last month.
The bill replaces the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21 this year. The bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12 years and death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.
Replying to a debate on the bill, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, gangrape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death.
He said, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
The punishment for gangrape of a girl below 16 years will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.
Members from various political parties including BJP, Congress, NCP and SP participated in the discussion.
Parliament has also passed the Constitution (One Hundred Twenty-third Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeking constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
The Rajya Sabha adopted the amendment passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill was passed in the Upper House with an absolute majority and not less than 2/3rd of the majority of the member present in the House. All 156 members present in the house voted in favour of the bill.
Moving the bill in the Rajya Sabha, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said it is aimed at providing justice to the socially and educationally backward sections of the society.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed happiness over the passing of the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill in Parliament yesterday, which grants Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
In a tweet, Mr Modi said, this is a historic moment for the country. He said, this will contribute to the empowerment of the OBC communities across the country.