English | Dzongkha Friday, February 21, 2020

Two new clauses proposed in rape of a pregnant woman, National Council


Jan 17, 2020

The Member of Parliament (MP) of Punakha proposed the amendments of grading of sexual offences along with suggestions of a few new clauses that need to be included in the case of rape of a pregnant woman.

The suggestions were made during the deliberation on Penal Code (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2019 in the National Council session today.

According to the Punakha MP, the offence of rape including the rape of a married person and pregnant woman should be increased to third-degree felony from fourth-degree felony.

“As per the Penal Code of Bhutan, the offence of rape falls under 4th-degree felony. An offence of Burglary also falls under the fourth-degree felony. So I think it is not fair when these two offences are treated as same. Therefore I want to recommend the offence of rape to be increased to a third-degree felony,” said¬†Lhaki Dolma, the Punakha MP.

She also recommended that the grading of an offence of gang rape including the gang rape of a pregnant woman should be increased to second-degree felony from third-degree felony.

In addition, she recommended two new clauses. She said should an offence of rape of a pregnant woman causes fetal death, the offence should be graded under a second-degree felony. Similarly, if it’s caused by gang rape, the offence should be graded as the first-degree felony.

Moreover, she also recommended that ‘GAO’, which is paid to the husband of the victim, in case of rape of a married person should be replaced by compensation to the victim.

“I want to recommend if compensation to the victim could be paid in place of GAO as recommended by the National Council for Women and Children to the National Assembly. However, it was not included in the list of the amendment last year. I also think that the victim is at loss and therefore compensation should be paid to her,” she added.

Other members of the parliament also supported the recommendations, and the Chairperson instructed the Legislative Committee to rework on the Amendment from section 182 to section 210 of the Penal Code of Bhutan.

Meanwhile, The legislative Committee of the House proposed not to repeal sections 213 and 214. These sections were repealed by the National Assembly during the last session decriminalising the LGBTIQ community in the country. After much deliberations, the House could not come to a consensus and decided to discuss it further on Monday.

Kinley Dem

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