Ordinance on anti-rape laws: Death sentence in extreme cases

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New Delhi, Feb 1: Acting swiftly on Justice JS Verma committee report the Union government has taken up an ordinance on tough punishment for sexual offenders. According sources the Union Cabinet is likely to okay the ordinance that proposes death sentence or imprisonment for the rest of the convict's life in extreme rape cases. The ordinance, however, does not cover marital rape.

After national outrage over the gang-rape of a medical student on a Delhi bus last month the government had set up a three-member committee under the chairmanship of former chief justice Verma to suggest changes in anti-rape laws.

The committee had recommended major revisions of the laws that deal with crimes against women. The 600-page report was readied in just 29 days and Justice Verma had urged the government to match his team's commitment by implementing the changes urgently.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister sent him a letter stating, "on behalf of our government, I assure you that we will be prompt in pursuing the recommendations of the committee."

Meanwhile, Parliament is scheduled to meet on February 21 for its budget session and the proposed ordinance should be approved by the Parliament or the government can bring in a fresh Act to replace the ordinance.

Five men have been arrested for the fatal gang-rape and are being tried at a fast-track court in Delhi. The sixth accused is being tried separately at a juvenile court. The barbarous gang-rape provoked fierce street protests with thousands of students vowing they would fight for better policing and tougher anti-rape laws.

OneIndia News

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