New Delhi, March 19: The criminal law (amendment) bill with new sections dealing with offences by public servants was passed in the Lok Sabha today after being in the pipeline for two years.
The bill has come down heavily on officials involved in the day to day running of shelter and remand homes, jails, and institutions for children and women.
In the new sub-sections inserted under Section 166 of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2013, strict penalties have been imposed on public servants who knowingly disobey the law during investigation of an offence, or fail to register an FIR, specially in cases dealing with crimes against women.
These offenders will face rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to two years with fine.
As of now, under Section 166, a public servant was punishable for a year and only if his actions caused injury. Other violations would have only initiated a departmental inquiry.
The new bill has for the first time made it mandatory for all hospitals, nursing homes, private or public medical care centres to provide free medical treatment to women victims of any form of sexual violence. The refusal to do so will be a criminal offence and attract a one-year jail term for top bosses and the staff on duty at the hospitals found guilty of turning away victims of sexual violence needing immediate medical care.
The bill has also put the onus of informing the police in such cases immediately on the health care provider.
The bill has also widened the scope of punishment in trafficking cases by introducing jail term for public servants who are hand in gloves in trafficking minors.
If a public servant or a police officer is found to be involved in the trafficking of children, the person would be punished with imprisonment for life. The bill has also made the offence non- bailable.
Another provision under the bill has escalated the punishment for rape — by police officers, public servants, member and staff of jails, teachers and guardians — from five years to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment which can be extended to life in prison.
In case men holding these positions force themselves on someone under their care but does not amount to rape, the punishment will range from 5-10 years. While previously this was a bailable offence, the new bill has made it non-bailable.