BJP favours death punishment for rapists

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) The BJP Wednesday called for death penalty for rapists and suggested changing the definition of "rape" to that of "sexual assault" so that it is not just restricted to penile penetration.

Suggesting party's recommendations to the Justice J.S. Verma Committee in the laws relating to rape, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari said the sentence for rape that was not a life sentence must be without remission.

He also demanded reducing the age of juveniles from below 18 years to below 16 years.

"A person convicted for a gang-rape or a custodial rape or a rape committed after abduction or kidnapping must be punished up to death," Gadkari said.

The BJP leader called for changing the definition of rape in the India Penal Code (IPC) to that of sexual assault so that the law does not define rape only as penile penetration, but also other forms of penetrations and oral sex.

The party also suggested to recognise "unlawful sexual contact" as an offence under the IPC.

It also suggested death punishment in cases where victim has suffered life-altering disabilities like severed limbs, gouged out eyes and cut on an artery that has rendered a victim paralytic.

The party also demanded separate penal provisions for acid attack and special courts for dealing rape cases and providing appropriate compensation to victims.

The central government recently constituted a three-member committee of jurists -- headed by former chief justice of India J.S. Verma -- to give recommendations on amending laws to provide speedier justice and enhanced punishment in sexual assault cases against women.

The Justice Verma Committee has sought suggestions from the state governments, the public in general, eminent jurists, legal professionals, NGOs and women's groups on reviewing the existing laws to provide quicker justice and stringent punishment in cases of sexual assault.

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