January 24th, 2013

Justice Verma panel submits recommendations on rape law

NEW DELHI: More than a month after the 16th December gangrape of a para-medical student in Delhi shook the entire nation and led to widespread protests, a three-member panel set up by the government to look into women’s safety on Wednesday submitted its report to the Union Home Ministry.
The Justice Verma Committee was constituted to look at  existing legislation and suggest changes to check crimes against women.
The panel recommended time-bound trials of crime against  women, gender sensitisation of police forces and inclusion of stalking and molestation under the  purview of criminal law.
”We received tremendous support from everyone,” Justice  Verma told a news conference here.
While reviewing the laws, the panel had also sought  suggestions from the public. Among the issues the panel is reported to have looked at, include enhanced punishment for those who were involved in sexual crimes of extreme nature.
Judge Verma received thousands of suggestions after he set 5th January as a deadline for comments from jurists, women’s groups and other forums to revamp existing legislation to deal with sex offenders.
Among other parties, the Congress had suggested to the Verma Committee that rapists should be given a maximum of life sentence and capital punishment must be reserved only for rarest of rare cases.
Under the existing law, the maximum punishment for rape is a life term but the nation-wide outrage over the gangrape of the
23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus had sparked a demand for death penalty for rape convicts.
The BJP had also favoured death for perpetrators of such  crimes and demanded a special session of Parliament for amending the laws.

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