Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2018

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2018 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2018 preparation for various examinations.

Cabinet approves ordinance for death penalty for child rapists

The Union Cabinet has approved promulgation of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance to provide death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years. The ordinance amends Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Indian Evidence Act.

Key Provisions of Ordinance

It provides for stringent punishment of jail term of minimum 20 years or life imprisonment or death for rape of girl less than 12 years. It provides punishment with imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence in case of gang rape of girl below 12 years.

It increases minimum punishment from 10 years to 20 years for crime of rape of girl under 16 years, which can be extended to imprisonment for rest of life. It increases minimum punishment for rape of women from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, which can be extended to life imprisonment.

It provides for speedy investigation and trial, which must be completed in two months. It proposes 6 months’ time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases. It provides dedicated manpower for investigation of rape cases in time bound manner.

It provides no provision for anticipatory bail for person accused of rape or gang rape of girl under 16 years. It has also been provided that court has to give notice of 15 days to Public Prosecutor and representative of victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.

It has provision for maintaining national database and profile of sexual offenders by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This data will be regularly shared with States/UTs for monitoring, tracking and investigation including verification of antecedents by police.

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Cabinet approves Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet has introduction of Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 in Parliament for better protection and promotion of human rights in the country. The Bill will amend Protection of Human Rights, 1993 which was last amended in 2006.

Salient Features of Bill

It proposes to include National Commission for Protection of Child Rights as deemed Member of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). It proposes to add woman member in composition of NHRC.

It proposes to enlarge scope of eligibility and scope of selection of Chairperson, NHRC as well as State Human Rights Commission (SHRCs). It proposes to incorporate mechanism to look after cases of human rights violation in Union Territories. It proposes to amend term of office of Chairperson and Members of NHRC and SHRCs to make it in consonance with terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.

Benefits

The amendment will strengthen Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the amended act will be in perfect sync with agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of individual in the country. The amendment will make NHRC and SHRCs more compliant with Paris Principles concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights.

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