Bhopal: The cabinet of Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh has decided to push for capital punishment for rapists who target children aged 12 years and less. Death penalty will also be awarded to convicts of gang rape cases, said the state's Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya.
The cabinet has cleared an amendment in the penal code which will stipulate the new punishments. It will also increase the fine and punishment for rape convicts.
The amendment will be presented in the winter session of the state assembly, which begins on Monday.
In the last cabinet meeting, a few ministers including Mr Mallaiya and rural development minister Gopal Bhargava, had expressed concern that a death sentence would pose a bigger threat, as rapists would kill their victims. The Chief Minister took more time for further deliberations and inputs, sources said.
After a civil service aspirant was gang-raped in Bhopal, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had said, "Those raping innocent girls should be hanged and the bill will be sent to the Government of India for its nod".
State's home minister Bhupendra Singh had also indicated that the state will take tough measures to rein in the rising crimes against women.
Altogether, 10,854 cases of child rapes were registered in the country in 2015 in comparison to 13,766 cases in 2014 -- a a decrease of 21.1%, government figures show. The maximum number of cases were reported in Maharashtra (2,231 cases) followed by Madhya Pradesh (1,568) and Odisha (1,052 cases).
In 2015, data from the National Crime Records Bureau said Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of rape cases in the country in that year - 4,391. The figure was slightly lower than that of the year before - 5,076.