The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday passed an ordinance to award the death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below 12 years, ANI reported. The state government’s move comes amid nationwide outrage against the alleged rape, and murder of an eight-year-old in the state’s Kathua district in January.
Those convicted of raping girls aged between 13 and 16 years will be sentenced to life imprisonment, reported The Indian Express. “The investigation of cases will have to be completed within two months and a trial must be completed in six months,” said Rural Development Minister Abdul Hak Khan.
On Sunday, the president signed a similar ordinance after the Union Cabinet approved the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018. But several human rights activists as well as the Delhi High Court have raised doubts if the death penalty was an effective deterrent.
Jammu and Kashmir had to pass a separate ordinance as laws passed by the Centre do not directly apply to the state, which has special status under Article 370 of the Constitution.