AJK law allows depriving child molesters of sexual prowess

By: News Desk      Published: 12:05 PM, 2 Jul, 2020
AJK law allows depriving child molesters of sexual prowess

In an attempt to curb the trend of sexual assaults against children, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly has opted for harshest punishment by getting a new bill approved from the state lawmakers.

The new legislation Criminal Law (3rd Amendment) Act 2020 was passed by the AJK Legislative Assembly unanimously on Wednesday under which a convict can even be deprived of sexual strength through castration.

The law says those convicted of sexual assault against the children [under 18 years of age] can be awarded death sentence or life imprisonment or the punishment of depriving sexual strength by the courts.

On the other hand, the accused found involved in an attempt to commit sexual assault against the children could be awarded five to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.

This law makes it mandatory for a district [session] court to decide the matter within 60 days while it is 90 days for the high court. Meanwhile, the district-level courts are given a 30-day relaxation in case of unavoidable circumstances.

As far as the police are concerned, these cases would now be investigated by an ASP or a higher-ranked officer.

The law has even stipulated the method of castrating a convict. The process would be performed by surgery but the use of the chemical is given as an alternate if there are chances of the person dying during the surgical procedure.

According to the BBC, Ahmed Raza Qadri – the AJK minister who tabled the bill – said the state president did not have the authority to reject the document.

AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said it was a tough decision but they didn’t have any other choice.

But there are critics too and noted rights campaigner Ansar Burney is one of them. He told the BBC that the new legislation was ridiculous.

According to Burney, he is not against punishing the culprits but the new sentences aren’t appropriate in a country where people are ready to become bogus witnesses after receiving money. In this scenario, any person can use a child to get his rival a severe punishment.

But a Supreme Court lawyer, Karam Dad Khan, said sexual assault against children was an unnatural and inhuman act; therefore, introducing an inhuman punishment for an inhuman act wasn’t wrong.