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Successfully fighting with 498 (MANAGER)     05 December 2012

Bill in lok sabha to make sexual assault a gender-neutral of

New Delhi: Both men and women could soon be able to invoke the provisions of a criminal law in case of s*xual assault, once a bill in this regard is passed by Parliament.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, replacing the word 'rape' by the phrase 's*xual assault' and seeking to widen the scope of the offence, was introduced by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in the Lok Sabha today.

The amendment bill expands the definition so that cases of s*xual assault where victims were male would fall under the same law along with cases where victims were women. At present, the offence is defined under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code as per which a man is said to commit 'rape' in case he has s*xual intercourse with a woman against her will.

 
 

The bill also carries provisions which make carrying out of acid attacks a separate offence punishable by a maximum of ten years' in jail while an attempt to do so could send the accused to jail for 5-7 years.

Under the bill, an offender can be jailed for life in cases of s*xual assault, irrespective of the victim's gender. The term 's*xual assault' has also been widened to include forced unnatural s*x.

The bill lays down strict provisions under which persons below 18 making a complaint will not have to face the accused in court or police stations. It has raised the age of consent from 16 to 18 years.



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