Why in News?
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to an Ordinance permitting the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
i)The Ordinance provides for the death sentence, imprisonment for life or a minimum sentence of 20 years for the rape of a child below 12 years.
ii)The sentence for the rape of a girl below 16 would be a minimum of 20 years but extendible to life imprisonment, while that for gang- rape of a girl below 16 would be imprisonment for life.
iii)The Ordinance also provides that investigation of all cases of rape shall be completed within two months.
Article 123 of the constitution empowers the President to Promulgate ordinance during the recess of Parliament. These ordinances have the same force and effect as an act of Parliament but are in the nature of temporary laws.
An ordinance like any other legislation can be retrospective, that is it may come into force from a back date. It may modify or repeal any act of Parliament or another Ordinance. It can alter or amend a tax law also. However, it cannot be issued to amend the Constitution.
i)The President can promulgate an ordinance only when both the houses of Parliament are not in session or when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session.
ii)He can make an Ordinance only when he is satisfied that the circumstance exists that render it necessary for him to take immediate action .The President’s satisfaction is justiciable on the ground of malafide.
iii)His ordinance making powers is coextensive with the powers of the Parliament i.e an ordinance can be issued only on those subjects on which Parliament can make laws; It is subject to the same constitutional limitations as an act of Parliament. Hence an ordinance cannot abridge or take away any of the fundamental rights.
iv)Every Ordinance passed by the President during the recess of the Parliament must be laid before both the House of Parliament when it reassembles. If it is approved by both houses the ordinance becomes an act. If Parliament takes no action at all, the ordinance ceases to operate on the expiry of six weeks from the assembly of parliament.