New Delhi, Feb 4: Rejecting criticism that the anti-rape ordinance was an eyewash, government on Monday, Feb 4 expressed the hope that it will have a deterrent effect on potential criminals and said issues like reducing the age of juvenile, marital rape and amending AFSPA would be considered later.
It also dismissed suggestions that the government has rejected some of the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, which went into the issue of tightening anti-rape laws, saying the ordinance reflected the broadest consensus within the government.
Defending the ordinance, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said there was a universal demand that laws must be amended immediately and the government came to the conclusion that there was a strong case to promulgate it.
He said though criminal law can apply only prospectively and not retrospectively, the changes made in the procedural laws through the ordinance would apply on ongoing trials.
"Government hopes that the stringent provisions in the ordinance will have a deterrent effect on potential criminals during the period between now and the date on which the new law will be enacted by Parliament," he said at a press conference along with I and B Minister Manish Tewari.
Asserting that the government has not rejected any of the recommendations of Justice J S Verma Committee, Chidambaram said all suggestions were not incorporated in the ordinance as these would be studied and could be incorporated at a later stage.
The Finance Minister said the ordinance which was promulgated yesterday contains 22 clauses and of these, 11 clauses have been taken from the pending Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012 either wholly or substantially.
Tewari said it is obligatory for the government to introduce a Bill to replace the ordinance and to get it passed in Parliament before the expiry of the period of six weeks.