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Statute of limitations for rape increases as lawmakers endorse the proposal

File image: The parliament building of Nepal
File image: The parliament building of Nepal

Kathmandu, July 11

The House of Representatives has endorsed a proposal to increase the statute of limitations for rape in the country’s criminal law.

A meeting of the House of Representatives on Monday endorsed a bill to amend some laws related to sexual violence along with a report of the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee on it.

According to the National Penal Code Act 2017, chapter 18, section 229 (2), the Statute of Limitations, a rape case must be filed within a year of the occurrence if the survivor is an adult, and within a year of the survivor turning 18 if the survivor is a minor.

The House, upon recommendation from the committee, has decided to change it to two years if the survivor is an adult, and three years of the survivor turning 18 if s/he is a minor.

Following the revelation of an eight-year-old rape case by a beauty pageant organiser a few months ago, there is mounting pressure on the government to remove the provision of the statute of limitations altogether. But, the government had clarified that it would not decide anything in haste.

Similarly, the House has also put up a provision to reduce the punishment handed down to the person making the complaint even if the complaint was false. The Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee has asked the government to partially remove the provision of punishing the complainant to make the law pro-survivor.

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