The bill was earlier promulgated through an ordinance on October 13, as parliament was not in session
The report on the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020, seeking death penalty for rape, has been submitted to parliament.
Meher Afroze, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Women and Children Affairs Ministry, submitted the report on Monday.
The bill proposes amendments to the previous law to incorporate death penalty as the highest punishment for rape.
According to Article 9 (1) of the existing Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000, the highest punishment for rape is life imprisonment.
This was earlier promulgated through an ordinance on October 13 as parliament was not in session, in the face of populist demands to ensure death penalty for rapists.
As per the legal obligation, the ordinance was placed in parliament for its approval by Law Minister Anisul Huq.
The ordinance was issued following waves of anti-rape demonstrations across Bangladesh after a series of rape incidents, most notably the gang rape of a woman in Noakhali's Begumganj upazila, which was videoed by the perpetrators. The video was later released on social media and went viral.
The incident occurred at Joykrishnapur village under Eklashpur union of the upazila on September 2.
Protesters staged demonstrations over the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women in the country.
According to Article 9 (3) of the existing law, if a woman falls victim to gang rape and gets injured or dies, the punishment is the death penalty or life imprisonment for each rapist.
As per the bill, changes were also proposed to two other sub-articles – 11 (Ga) and 20 (7) – of the existing law.
Any simple injury for dowry will be a compoundable offence – the complainant can decide to drop the charge against the accused – in accordance with Article 11 (Ga) of the proposed law.
The punishment under Article 11 (Ga) is maximum three years but minimum one year's rigorous imprisonment and pecuniary (monetary) penalty.
In Article 20 (7) of the law, the Children Act, 2013 has been incorporated in place of Children Act, 1974, to follow the latest law as much as possible during the trial of any crime committed under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000, in case any child commits or witnesses such crime.
The trial of rape cases shall be completed by 180 days at Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunals, according to the existing law.