IMPHAL, March 1: Some sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Indian Evidence Act (IE Act) and Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC 1973) have been amended, keeping in consideration the increasing number of cases related to sexual offences committed against women including the girl child to award befitting punishment to those found guilty in such cases.
This process of amending sections of IPC, IE Act and CrPC, 1973 has come about with the “Criminal Law (Amendment) ordinance 2013.” Mention may be made that President Pranab Mukherjee had promulgated the ordinance on February 3, 2013 by the power conferred upon him according to the Constitution of India, Clause 1 of Article 123. Criminal Law (Amendment) ordinance, 2013 came into being following the Delhi bus gang rape incident on December 16, 2012 where a student of Physiotherapy was gang raped and brutally assaulted and later succumbed to her injury. After the incident, a judicial committee was formed on December 22, 2012 by the India government led by former Chief Justice of India JS Verma and the committee was given the time of one month to submit its report.
The committee submitted its report on January 23, 2013 and the union cabinet gave its approval on February 1, 2013 and the ordinance was promulgated by the President on February 3, 2013.
An accused in a case of rape in the state has been remanded to judicial custody under this new amendment.
The accused identified as Asem Oken (40) son of A Ahanjao Singh, a resident of Mayang Imphal Chirai under Mayang Imphal Police Station in Imphal West district and presently staying at Uripok Bachaspati Leikai, is the first to be taken action under this ordinance in the state.
Asem Oken allegedly molested his neighbour’s 13 year daughter on February 19 last. The Mayang Imphal police station had registered an FIR case in regard to the incident under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.
It may be mentioned here that before the promulgation of the Criminal Law (Amendment) ordinance, 2013, an accused booked under IPC Section 354 was granted bail but following the ordinance, it has become a non bailable offence.
The accused Asem Oken Singh, has been remanded to judicial custody on February 25 last by the Judicial Magistrate 1st Class/Imphal West (JMIC/IW) and has become the first accused under this ordinance.
According to the ordinance, under Section 354 of Indian Penal Code a person found guilty of “assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty” can be sent to imprisonment of one year which may extend to five years, and with fine” and also it is a “non-bailable” offence.
The Sections of IPC amended under the ordinance are 166A, 326A, 326B, 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D, 370, 370A, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D etc.
The most interesting part of the ordinance is that under Section 376A, “a person committing an offence of sexual assault and inflicting injury which causes death or cause the person to be in a persistent vegetative state can be awarded rigorous imprisonment of not less than 20 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life or with death.”
And also, under Section 370D, in the case of “sexual assault by a gang” the guilty persons can be awarded “imprisonment for not less than 20 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life and compensation to the victim.”