New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal making rape a gender-neutral offence, under which the word 'rape' would be replaced by the phrase 'sexual assault'.
Another proposal to make carrying out of acid attacks a separate offence punishable by a maximum of 10 years has also been approved. Both the proposals were approved by the Cabinet at a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday evening.
The amendment would expand the definition so that cases of sexual assault where the victims are male would also fall under the same law along with cases where the 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 sexual intercourse with a woman against her will.
When asked, Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Krishna Tirath said the Cabinet had given a go-ahead to the draft proposal.
She said the Cabinet had also given a go-ahead to another proposal of her ministry as per which carrying out an acid attack against any person should be brought under a separate act punishable with a maximum ten years of imprisonment.
Krishna further said it had also been decided by the cabinet that certain sections of CrPC or IPC, which define minors as below the age of 16, would be amended and a uniform age bar of below 18 years, would be set as the legal age for minors.
Source: http://ibnlive.in.com/news on 19th July, 2012