Law Minister Anisul Huq on Monday said the incidents of rape will decrease as death penalty has been incorporated in the law as the highest punishment for the crime.
“According to the section 9 (1) of Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, the highest punishment for rape was life term imprisonment but the Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with a provision of death penalty as the highest punishment. I believe the crime will decrease now.”
The law minister came up with the remark at a press briefing at his Gulshan office.
“The Cabinet approved the draft and a decision was taken to issue the bill as ordinance as the parliament in not in session. We are taking preparation to issue it as ordinance by the order of the President on Tuesday,” he said.
He reiterated that the changes were proposed at the directive of the Prime Minister.
There are so many controversies about the death penalty but considering the current situation, the Prime Minister felt that the punishment of the act should be toughened, he said.
Besides, a decision has been taken to dispose of the old rape cases and new cases as soon as possible, said Anisul.
“A request will be made to the Chief Justice for taking steps to resolve the cases under Woman and Child Repression Prevention Act soon while special public prosecutors will be directed to take steps in this regard immediately," he said.
There has been a problem in producing witnesses before the court but now the government has taken steps to send messages of the witnesses using mobile phones through digitisation, he said.
Amid widespread protests against the growing incidents of rape, the Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with a provision of death penalty as the highest punishment for rape.
According to Article 9 (1) of the existing Women and Children Repression Prevention Act-2000, the punishment for rape is life imprisonment.
“The Women and Children Affairs Ministry placed the draft bill in the Cabinet for approval bringing amendments to Article 9 (1) of the existing law. The death penalty or life sentence has been proposed as the punishment for rape in it. The Cabinet has agreed on it (the proposal),” said the Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.
Waves of anti-rape demonstrations erupted across Bangladesh after a video footage of five men gang-raping a housewife, stripping her naked and filming the video of the incident in Noakhali’s Begumganj upazila, went viral on social media.
The incident occurred at Joykrishnapur village under Eklashpur union of the upazila on September 2.
Protesters have been demonstrating for the last few days over the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women in Bangladesh.