New Delhi, Dec 5: Terming the Madhya Pradesh assembly bill introducing death penalty for people convicted of rape of girls aged 12 and younger as “regressive” and “misplaced”, human rights NGO Amnesty International on Tuesday said that institutional reforms and not death penalty are needed to end sexual violence against children.
It has also appealed to the President to not let such “regressive” bill become a law.
“The Madhya Pradesh legislature’s concern on the issue of child sexual abuse is welcome, but the solution is misplaced,” said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.
She said that there is “no evidence” that the death penalty is more of a deterrent than prison terms.
“The government should, instead, focus on ensuring the certainty of justice rather than increasing the severity of punishment. The Justice Verma Committee and India’s Law Commission have both opposed the use of the death penalty for crimes involving sexual violence,” she said.
“The death penalty is the ultimate violation of the right to life. In India, its use has been highly arbitrary, and it has disproportionately affected socially and economically marginalised people. The President must not allow this regressive bill to become law,” Basu said.
The Madhya Pradesh assembly on Monday unanimously passed a bill to provide for the death penalty for those involved in the rape or gang-rape of girls aged below 12.
On November 26, the state Cabinet had approved the amendment bill that proposed addition of two provisos to Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.
The amendment bill also includes provision of three years in jail for exploiting women on the false promise of marriage.