Kathmandu, November 22
The government is introducing a new law that will make people involved in the community settlement of rape cases also face criminal cases.
A minister says the cabinet meeting held on Sunday endorsed a draft of the ordinance and forwarded it to the president for enactment.
Once the president issues the ordinance, it will come into existence immediately.
It has been learned that the ordinance has a provision of jail sentence from six months to three years and/or Rs 30,000 fine for those involved in communication mediation in rape cases. If they are public office holders, the sentence will be extended by six months.
The government action aims at controlling efforts made by community leaders to prevent rape cases in their neighbourhood from reaching the court. Of late, several such cases have been reported across the country, in particular in the southern plains.
Definition of ‘rape’ expanded
Meanwhile, the ordinance will also expand the definition of rape. Whereas the existing Criminal Code says only women could be raped, the ordinance will define that anyone can rape anyone irrespective of gender.
Likewise, this law will enable minors surviving rape or attempted rape to file a complaint against the perpetrators within one year since they reach the age of majority (18 years).
The ordinance will also extend sentences of rape convicts.