The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet on Sunday approved an amendment bill that proposes awarding the death penalty to rapists who assault children who are 12 years old and below as well as to convicts of gangrape cases. The Public Safety Bill will be introduced in the state Assembly, where the Winter Session begins on Monday, NDTV reported.
State Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya said they had also decided to imposed a harsher punishment for those found guilty of stalking, harassing or molesting a woman. The crimes will earn them a fine of Rs 1 lakh, PTI reported. He told the Hindustan Times that the scope of the law will be extended to punish those who target minor boys “later”.
Once the Assembly clears the bill, it will be sent to the Centre and President Ram Nath Kovind for approval.
This comes on the heels of criticism the Madhya Pradesh government attracted after a number of rapes were reported from the state. According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of rape cases – 4,391 – in India in 2015.
On November 3, four men were arrested for allegedly raping a 19-year old woman, a civil service aspirant, on the night of October 31 when she was returning home after a coaching class.