The law ministry is likely to place the draft Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill before the virtual cabinet meeting today proposing death as the only punishment for rape amid the countrywide protests against rapes and violence against women.
Law minister Anisul Huq said that the ministry prepared the bill to make provision for sentencing rapists to death instead of jail for life term.
The bill also proposed that rape would not be a compoundable offence.
The minister said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wednesday evening asked him to prepare the bill seeking amendment to Section 9(1) of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 and to place it before the cabinet today.
The existing law prescribes imprisonment for life term for rapists and death sentence or life-term sentence for rapists in case of death of the victim for the rape or her murder following the rape.
The government move came at a time when the country continued witnessing protests over the growing number of incidents of sexual harassment and rape.
The rape and torture of a woman in Noakhali by a group of perpetrators on September 2 and the posting of the incident’s video on social media on October 4 triggered outrages across the country.
A group of Bangladesh Chhatra League activists raped a newly wedded woman in MC College in Sylhet on September 25 confining her husband to the college hostel triggering protests.
The couple went there in their car to visit the campus, the police said.
Earlier on May 5, 2015 the Appellate Division upheld a High Court verdict that had declared unconstitutional Section 6(2) of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 1995 as it stipulated a mandatory death penalty with no alternative punishment for sexual violence or torture causing death of a woman or child.
The Appellate Division in the verdict observed that the law curtained the power of the judiciary for the exercise of the judicial discretion in sentencing.
The apex court pronounced the judgement disposing of an appeal filed by child rape case accused Shukur Ali challenging the High Court verdict that had upheld his death sentence.
The Appellate Division, however, later reviewed the judgement commuting Shukur Ali’s death sentence to life term.