Madhya Pradesh Cabinet unanimously passed a bill that defines the punishment provisions that award death sentence for those who are proved guilty of raping minors, that is individuals below the age of 12-years. With an expectation to stop the inhumanly brutal act of rape of minor that is rising with each day, the bill will now be sent to President Kovind and it will become a law on receiving approval.

A recent report by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) revealed that Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of rapes in entire country. The state has been on the shameful position with highest numbers since six years continuously and horrifyingly, of the 4,882 rape cases registered in Madhya Pradesh, 50% victims were minors – girls below 12. With an urgent need to stop this horrifying act, the Madhya Pradesh Cabinet, on Monday, unanimously passed a bill that proposes death penalty or a minimum of 14-year rigorous imprisonment or life imprisonment till death for raping girls aged 12 or below. Called Dand Vidhi (Madhya Pradesh Sanshodhan) Vidheyak, 2017, the bill will be sent to the Centre and will need the assent of the President to become a law.

The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the bill was passed keeping in mind that those who rape minor girls are not humans but devils and they have no right to live. Chouhan also said that as per the new bill, a crime like stalking any woman would be non-bailable offence and the offenders will be punished. The landmark legislation passed on Monday also covered punishment for disrobing, stalking or sex on the pretext of marriage. It also provides tougher punishment for eavesdropping, stalking women and other offences. It covers three to seven years of imprisonment for harassment – which falls under first offence category. For second and subsequent offence category, the minimum jail term will be seven to 10 years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

The bill defines death penalty for rapists of minors, but what about the rapists of adults? Does age of the victim make the offence any humanly? Only if a nationwide strict law is passed, this horrifying act can be stopped for once and for all. While it is true that minors must be protected, but why not adults too? This loose-hand approach while passing laws is what gives the criminals a pass, or a hope of getting off even after committing serious crime. While Madhya Pradesh’s bill is a single step towards a safer country, we rather need hard-on strict laws being passed and actually implemented on all – without any bias. With Modi government, who can ban 86% of country’s hard cash in a snap, who can unravel the taxation format upside down within a blink of eye; passing of a strict law against rapists and criminals should be a cakewalk. It is just that we don’t know when, or ever will such a law be passed.