Agencies, New Delhi The Union Cabinet today approved and cleared an ordinance providing for death sentence to the rapists in the event of death of the victim, sources said. The Cabinet considered former Chief Justice of India Verma Committee report on making laws against sexual crime more stringent, and accepted most of its recommendations.
Although Justice Verma had not recommended capital punishment for rape, the Cabinet went a step further to provide for the extreme punishment in rarest of rare cases. The Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been specially convened for the purpose. Dr Singh had written a letter to Justice Verma two days ago assuring that the Government would take prompt action in pursuing his recommendations. The Committee had submitted its report on January 23.
The three-member panel headed by Justice Verma with Justice (Rtd) Leila Seth and former Solicitor General of India had been constituted in the wake of the nationwide outcry against the gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedic in the capital on December 16, and later her death. The main recommendations of the committee included increasing the punishment up to 20 years of imprisonment for rape and murder and life term for gang rape. It, however, did not go for death penalty as demanded by various bodies and political parties. The Committee had suggested a number of amendments to the criminal law for providing higher punishment for the guilty of rape, including police and public servants. The new offences like disrobing a woman, voyeurism, stalking and trafficking have been included in the sexual crimes. At present, rape laws provide for seven years to life imprisonment for rape.
The Justice Verma Committe has recognised the need to curb all forms of sexual offences. It is for upto seven years of punishment for voyeurism, up to three years for stalking or attempts to contact a person repeatedly through any means. Acid attacks would be punished by up to seven years of imprisonment, and trafficking with RI for seven to ten years. The Committee also provides for punishment for any officer who fails to register a case of rape reported to him.
Cabinet OKs ordinance on strong anti-rape laws New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Friday approved an ordinance to amend and make stronger existing laws to curb crimes against women as suggested by the Justice Verma Committee, government sources said. “The Cabinet has approved the ordinance,” a Cabinet minister told a news agency after the two-hour meeting. According to the sources, the ordinance will deal with amendments cutting across different laws relating to crimes by juveniles, rapes and the Indian Penal Code itself. Sources said that bringing an ordinance now, when the Budget Session is three weeks away, will send a message that the government means business. The ordinance would have to be approved by the President before it becomes a law.