President Alvi signs anti-rape ordinance into law

The new ordinance expedites the legal process and criminalizes naming victims, among other changes

President Dr. Arif Alvi signed the government’s Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance, 2020. The ordinance, which the government is calling “stringent” and “holistic,” will help expedite cases of sexual abuse against women and children. Special courts will be set up across the country to expedite trials and cases of rape at the earliest under this ordinance. The courts will need to deal with the cases in a span of four months.

Some of the essential points of the ordinance include setting up a sex offenders registry with NADRA. It also criminalizes the public identification of the rape victims, and naming a victim carries a jail term. Chemical castration has been introduced for offenders to deter criminals. The medico-legal teams at the rape crisis center will carry out a medical exam within six hours of the incident. The two-finger test, which is often thought to be demeaning to the victim, has been eliminated.

A much-needed law

The ordinance will help society in many ways. First and foremost, it will lessen the time taken for reaching a judgment and reduce the mental trauma victims go through during the legal battle. Keeping the identity of the victim secret will also reduce the stress one has to go through. Media often flashes pictures of the victims to make their life further miserable. The sex offenders registry will also help catch repeat offenders.

One aspect of the ordinance that is under debate is the chemical castration. It is a punishment in some parts of the world for repeat offenders. However, many believe that central punishment for such people is a more apt option.   

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