Statute of limitations on rape extended to 180 days

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 30, 2015-

The statute of limitations on reporting of rape cases has been extended from existing 35 to 180 days in the new law.

Human rights lawyers has termed it a step forward, though they believe that there should not be statute of limitations for a heinous crime like rape, that victims should be allowed to lodge complaint whenever they want.

“It is a huge achievement, but not sufficient,” said lawyer Meera Dhungana.

She argued that rape is a severe crime with social stigma attached to it. “The severe the case, the higher the threat. How can one file a complaint in such case?”

She said the new law also does not address the issues related to minors, mute persons, and persons in coma.

“What if a minor realises it was a rape after she has grown up? What if  a raped coma patient gains consciousness six months after she has been raped?” argued Dhungana.

The Act to Amend Laws to End Gender Violence and Ensure Gender Equality 2072, which came into effect last month, has also increased the punishment for cases related to domestic and sexual violence.

The law has broaden the definition of rape as “penile penetration of orifices” and “non-penile penetration of vaginas”.

Earlier, only a “minor penetration of penis into vagina” was considered rape. The redefinition has eliminated confusion over rape of a male as well as same sex rape.

The new Act has also made marital rape a non-bailable crime and increased jail term for up to five years. The Act has also increased current maximum three years of imprisonment for acid attack convicts to up to eight years.

The amendments were made as per the recommendations of a high-level monitoring committee formed by the then Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai in December, 2012, a move prompted by the “Occupy Baluwatar Campaign”.

Published: 30-11-2015 09:22

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