Crimes against women: Verma panel to submit report on Jan 23

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New Delhi, Jan 22: The Justice Verma Committee, formed to examine existing laws and make changes to them to effectively check crimes against women, will submit its recommendations on Wednesday (Jan 23).

The three-member committee is headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma. Justice (retd) Leila Seth, former chief justice of Himachal Pradesh and Gopal Subramaniam, former Solicitor General of India are the other members of the committee.

The Committee had held its first meeting on Dec 26 and had invited suggestions from the citizens on ways to ensure women safety. The panel also studied the possibilities enhanced punishment for criminals who have been accused of committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women.

Following the brutal gangrape case in Delhi last month, the Congress had decided to propose a tougher law to check crimes against women which could include a provision like chemical castration of perpetrators of rape in rare cases. Some of the provisions of this tougher law include imprisonment up to 30 years for rape convicts and setting up of fast track-courts to decide the cases within 3 months and were discussed in the presence of party chief Sonia Gandhi on Dec 23 when she had held a meeting with a group of people protesting against the gangrape incident.

While Congress submitted its report to the Justice Verma Committee, the government collected suggestions from the public on stricter anti-rape laws and submitted them to the committee.

Amend procedural law

A joint memorandum by women's organizations (All India Democratic Women's Association, All India Women's Conference, Joint Women's Programme, Guild of Service, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, National Federation Of Indian Women, Young Women's Christian Association of India and Muslim Women's Forum) seeks amendments to the substantive and procedural laws related to sexual assaults.

According them, the law should reflect the different forms of sexual assaults that women experience in their daily lives. They have also demanded preventive steps needed to ensure safety and security of women throughout the country.

Legalise prostitution

Another voluntary organisation working for the upliftment of sex workers has sought to legalise prostitution as a measure to check rape cases in the country.

The NGO -- Bhartiya Patita Uddhar Sabha -- said flesh trade in the country should be legalised. "It is worth mentioning that non-legalisation of the sex trade is one of reasons for more rape cases...It is ripe time for the Central government to legalise the profession of sex trade in India as has been done by 164 countries in the world," it said in a letter to the Committee.

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