Cabinet clears anti-rape bill, keeps age of consent 18

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The cabinet Monday approved the anti-rape bill by agreeing to stick to 18 years as the age of consent instead of 16, informed sources said.

The cabinet meeting was held Monday evening following an all-party meeting in the morning, when the bill was discussed.
The sources said the government has agreed to stick to 18 years as age of consent following suggestions at the all-party meeting. They said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) were among the parties which had reservations over the lowering the age of consent to 16.
The sources said that the age of consent was 16 years under the Indian Penal Code but was raised to 18 in the anti-rape ordinance promulgated by the government in February this year.
However, the government agreed to lower the age of consent to 16 under the proposed Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, following inter-ministerial consultations.
The sources said several political parties had suggested at the all-party meeting that the age of consent should be increased to 18 years since the minimum age of marriage for girls was also 18.