National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)

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  • NDSO is an initiative under National Mission for Safety of Women aimed at curbing crimes against women and children.
  • It will mainly include data of sexual offenders in the country convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, POCSO and eve teasing 2005 onwards.
  • It will contain  key details of convicted sexual offenders such as their names, residential address, photographs, fingerprints, DNA samples, Aadhaar numbers and Personal Account Numbers (PANs).
  • It will be maintained by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for regular monitoring and tracking by State Police.
  • The database will not compromise any individual’s privacy.
  • At present database contains 4.4 lakh entries.
  • State Police will regularly update the database from 2005 onwards.
  • As of now, it does not have records of juvenile offenders, but they are likely to be included in at later stage.
  • NDSO will maintain database of cases classified as posing low danger for a period of 15 years.
  • The database of cases, which are classified as moderate danger, will be stored for 25 years.
  • The data for cases involving repeat and habitual offenders, criminals, convicted gang rapists and custodial rapes will be stored permanently.

 

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Abortions : Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act

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Context

  • Abortion has been legalised in India under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act since 1971.
  • According to the Act, abortion can be provided at the discretion of a medical provider under certain conditions.
  • Act had two goals — to control the population resulting from unintended pregnancies and to reduce the increasing maternal mortality and morbidity due to illegal, unsafe abortions.

 

Need of amendments now:

  • It was just a year ago when a 10-year-old girl got pregnant after being raped by her uncles.
  • Both the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Supreme Court, advised by a doctors’ panel, refusing her permission to terminate it.
  • Hence timely justice to our women and young girl was denied.

 

Current scenario

  • Act has limitations that pose barriers to women and girls seeking legal abortions.
  • Though abortion was legalised almost 50 years ago, a woman’s right to decide for herself, did not and still does not fall within the intent or ambit of the MTP Act.
  • Currently, the Act allows abortion up to 20 weeks.
  • However, when it comes to foetal abnormalities and pregnancies resulting from rape, this limit is proving to be a hurdle for both the woman and the provider.
  • Women seeking an abortion after the legal gestation limit ,often have no option but to appeal to the courts and run from pillar to post for permission to terminate the pregnancy.

 

Amendments suggested by Ministry:

  • In 2014, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recognised these barriers and proposed certain amendments to the Act.
  • Thus an increasing in the gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for rape survivors and other vulnerable women and removing the gestation limit in case of foetal abnormalities was brought in.
  • In 2017, these amendments were returned to the ministry with the mandate to strengthen the implementation of the MTP Act as it stands.

 

Result of denial of abortions:

  • Many women, when denied legal abortions, turn to unqualified providers or adopt unsafe methods of termination.
  • Estimates based on the Sample Registration System (SRS) 2001-03, indicate that unsafe abortions account for 8 percent of maternal deaths in India.
  • Adopting and implementing the amendments will take us a few steps closer towards ensuring that all girls and women have access to safe abortion services.
  • According to a study published in The Lancet recently, 15.6 million abortions took place in India in 2015 out of which about 11.5 million took place outside health facilities.

 

Conclusion

  • Abortion is at the centre of global conversations on reproductive health and rights.
  • India had once led this in the forefront by legalising abortions.
  • Hence its the time to regain the position and make it personalised according to the needs of the hour.

 ias4sure.com - Abortions Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/india-abortion-laws-mtp-act-supreme-court-pocso-5308892/

Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018

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Lok Sabha has passed Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 to provide death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years. The Bill amends:
  • Indian Penal Code (IPC),
  • Criminal Procedure Code,
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and
  • Indian Evidence Act.
 
Key Provisions of Ordinance
  • It provides for stringent punishment of jail term of minimum 20 years or life imprisonment or death for rape of girl less than 12 years.
  • It provides punishment with imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence in case of gang rape of girl below 12 years.
  • It increases minimum punishment from 10 years to 20 years for crime of rape of girl under 16 years, which can be extended to imprisonment for rest of life.
  • It increases minimum punishment for rape of women from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, which can be extended to life imprisonment.
  • It provides for speedy investigation and trial, which must be completed in two months.
  • It proposes 6 months’ time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases.
  • It provides dedicated manpower for investigation of rape cases in time bound manner.
  • It provides no provision for anticipatory bail for person accused of rape or gang rape of girl under 16 years.
  • It has also been provided that court has to give notice of 15 days to Public Prosecutor and representative of victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
  • It has provision for maintaining national database and profile of sexual offenders by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
  • This data will be regularly shared with States/UTs for monitoring, tracking and investigation including verification of antecedents by police.

 

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