After the infamous Delhi gang rape case which took place in India, the cabinet has approved the death penalty for rapists who cause grievous physical or mental harm to the victim. An attack that leaves a victim in a permanently vegetative state, is an example of when the death penalty could be applied.
The latest changes in the laws were recommended after a large show of protest against the laws, by millions of people across the country. The urgency for the ordinance was shown despite the fact that the parliament’s Budget session was just 20 days away. Key recommendations were made by the Justice JS Verma panel, in which the death sentence was discussed.
The ordinance is expected to become a law as soon as the President of India signs off on it. It also needs the parliament’s approval within six months. The government plans to complete these requirements within the budget session. A special Cabinet meeting was convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after meeting Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the morning.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Oil Minister Veerappa Moily and Law Minister Ashwini Kumar had their own reservations over the issue and put forth recommendations not to take any hurried decisions. On the other hand, the panel’s recommendation to make marital rape a criminal offence was not accepted.