Bill passed making rape punishable by death and DNA testing mandatory
Dhaka, November 18: A bill has been passed in the Women and Child Abuse Prevention Act to replace the word 'rape' with the phrase 'rape victim' and provide for the death penalty as the maximum punishment for rape. On Tuesday, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nesa Indira proposed to pass the ‘Women and Child Abuse Suppression (Amendment) Bill-2000’ in Parliament. Later it was passed by voice vote.
The bill, which provides for the death penalty for rape, was introduced in Parliament on November 8 and was sent to a parliamentary committee on the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to examine and report on it. The report was tabled in Parliament on Monday by Meher Afroz Chumki, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee.
The parliamentary committee recommended replacing the word 'rape' with the phrase 'rape victim' in the bill, as the word 'rape' has been used as an indicator of gender inequality. In some places, including Section 9 (2) of the original law, the word 'rape' has been dropped and the word 'rape victim' has been dropped.
The government has taken steps to amend the law amid a nationwide movement against rape and violence against women and a demand for the death penalty for rapists.
In the absence of a parliamentary session to implement the amended law, the President said on October 13. Abdul Hamid issued the ‘Women and Child Abuse Suppression (Amendment) Ordinance-2000’. Later on November 8, Law Minister Anisul Haque raised the ordinance in Parliament as per the rules. On the same day it was taken up in Parliament in the form of a bill.
Subsection 9 (1) of the Prevention of Violence against Women and Children Act, 2000, states that if a man rapes a woman or a child, he shall be punishable with life imprisonment and in addition with a fine. In the draft of the original law, the words 'death penalty or life imprisonment' have been substituted for the words 'life imprisonment'.
Subsection 9 (4) (a) of the Act states, "If a person attempts to kill or injure a woman or child by raping her, he shall be punishable with life imprisonment and in addition with a fine."
The word "death penalty or life imprisonment" has been added to the bill passed by amending this sub-section instead of "life imprisonment".