The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was passed by the Lok Sabha Tuesday.
The widely-debated bill seeks to provide enhanced punishment for crimes such as rape and gang-rape, prescribing punishment extending to death sentence for offenders for inflicting any injury which causes death of the victim or causes them to be in a persistent vegetative state.
Replying to the debate on the bill in the upper house, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the gang-rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old in Delhi shook the conscience of the whole nation, and there was a demand for a stronger law against rape.
He said changes in the existing laws were necessary for dignity of women and to increase their sense of security.
Describing the bill as tough and rigid, Shinde said the legislation will have its effect in the coming years.
Stressing that the bill was not against men, he said men also wanted the bill to be passed for the protection of their mothers and sisters.
The minister said the bill provides for action against police officials not registering complaint of victims, while sections dealing with the position of dominance imply political dominance too.
He noted that the ordinance promulgated last month kept the age of consent at 18 and this was retained in the bill. The age of consent was 16 under the Indian Penal Code till it was changed in the ordinance.
While introducing the bill, Shinde remembered the Delhi gang-rape victim.
"The brave heart who fought for her dignity, we can at least honour her by passing this bill soon," he said.