NEW DELHI, July 20 (IANS): In order to make rape laws gender neutral, the government has cleared a proposal to substitute the term "sexual assault" in place of "rape" and widen the scope of the offence in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012, it was announced Friday.
The union cabinet Thursday approved the proposal for the bill which will be introduced in the parliament in the coming monsoon session.
The age of consent has been raised from 16 years to 18 years in case of sexual assault and the punishment will be minimum seven to 10 years, said officials.
The bill proposes that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife under 16 years of age is not sexual assault.
Provision for enhancement of punishment for making acid attack a specific offence have been made in the bill.
The Law Commission of India in its 172nd Report on Review of Rape Laws as well the National Commission for Women had recommended stringent punishment for the offence of rape.