The proposed anti-rape bill was referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM) on Tuesday following differences of opinion among cabinet ministries over certain provisions, including lowering the age of juveniles.
"They are again reopening ordinances which were already deliberated upon. This is dismaying. It is apparent that there are voices within the government, who are against bringing a stronger law," Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women's Association said.
Terming it "unfortunate", Krishnan's said the government was still rethinking upon the simple ordinance like stalking and voyeurism.
"A stringent law against stalking and voyeurism will be a better deterrent against rape and yet they are still debating it," she said.
"It is a very sad. The government does not have a political will to bring a stronger anti-rape law. There seem to be a political class within the government that does not want a stronger law," rights lawyer Vrinda Grover said.
Grover says that the government was trying to bring a weak anti-rape law. "First they pass an ordinance and within a month, they are rethinking about it. Why do they have to rethink? Clearly the political class of our country, particularly the government, wants to bring a weak anti-rape law," she said.
"I don't know why a matter as important as protection of women has become a controversial thing in our country. Difference within the ministers on something as right as this is a reflection that the mindset of our governance needs to change. The malice in our system is deeper than it seems," says Rebecca John, a lawyer.
There were angry reactions on Twitter. Here are some of tweets:
Meera Sanyal @meerasanyal: Sad that an issue which unites our country divides our Cabinet. The anti rape bill deserves bi- partisan support from every leader in India.
vani tripathi @vanityparty: Strange the "Anti rape bill" deferred again, lack of will that's leading to dilly dallying or is it some kind of delay tactic?
Aman Shah @aman812: We need more anti-rape 'dil's too!
Calvin Printer @CalvinPrinter: Not surprised that Parliament does not want the anti-rape bill passed...Half it's members would be in big trouble if it was, wouldn't they?
ratna_rajaiah @alphabetiya: Anti-rape bill deferred. Rightly so. We need some more rapes to study the problem.
Minhaz Merchant @minhazmerchant: Ashwini Kumar promised in TV interview on Sunday to table anti-rape bill in parl this week. No value of minister's word?
Giggs27 @Giggles270346: No Janlokpal Bill, No Anti rape bill. Hope not for the same reasons.
Raj @Rj_3185: Women's security still the priority you think?
Yash Sharma @yash91sharma: How difficult can it be for a group of ministers to pass the anti-rape bill again, deferred again..
Pradip Mazumder @repubindia: They can't agree on women reservation bill, anti-rape bill, Lokpal bill, why the hell they are born to crucify every damn thing !!
Write to Offend @PalomaSharma: Now why do I feel cynical? Hmmm....?
STUDENTS TIMES @STUDENTSTIMES: JOKE OF THE DAY: Anti-rape Bill deferred second time in six days, referred to group of ministers.