Agencies, New Delhi
Against the backdrop of the savage gangrape of a 23-year-old girl here, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is shooting off missives to all political parties seeking their suggestions on the issue of changing the law related to rape.
Mr Shinde, according to sources, will ask the political parties to send their suggestions regarding the issue to the Justice J S Verma panel, formed for reviewing the present statute so as to provide for speedier justice and enhanced punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault.
The move comes amid the main Opposition’s demand for convening an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.
The Verma Committee has sought suggestions from individuals, NGOs, women’s groups and others by the first week of January. The panel, set up by the government on December 23, has been given 30 days to submit its report.
The panel will go into possible amendments to the criminal law to provide quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women.
The other members of the committee are — Justice (retd) Leila Seth, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, and former solicitor-general of India Gopal Subramanian.
Under the existing law, the maximum punishment for rape is life term but the nationwide outrage over the 16 December gangrape of the physiotherapy student in a moving bus here has sparked a demand for death penalty to rapists. The girl breathed her last on Saturday in a Singapore hospital.
The BJP has also advocated the death penalty for perpetrators of such heinous crimes and demanded a special session of Parliament for amending the law.