India announced Monday tougher laws on sexual crimes, including the death penalty for rapists, following the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi, dpa reported.
President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday approved new legislation recommended by the government, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said.
"Death has been prescribed as a maximum punishment in the case of rape, followed by injury which causes death, or causes the victim to be in a persistent vegetative state," Chidambaram said.
"Death has also been prescribed as maximum punishment in the case of a second conviction for the offence of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault."
Stricter punishment was also introduced for voyeurism, stalking, stripping a woman or carrying out an acid attack.
Women activists criticized the new laws for ignoring a report by retired chief justice JS Verma, who headed a panel to suggest changes to anti-rape laws.
The new legislation omitted recommendations to recognize marital rape as an offence, and to include rape by soldiers.
It was also silent on a recommendation to bar politicians facing charges of sexual offences from contesting elections.
Chidambaram said that most of the Verma Commission's report had been accepted. He said the ordinance was valid for six months and would be replaced by a legislation containing new amendments to be enacted by the parliament later.