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Anti-rape law: `Cabinet meeting may be convened`

Government Friday said a special meeting of the Cabinet could be convened to pass the criminal law (amendment) bill.

New Delhi: Downplaying differences among Ministries over certain provisions of the anti-rape legislation, Government Friday said a special meeting of the Cabinet could be convened to pass the criminal law (amendment) bill.

"The Law Ministry has given its views. The Ministry of Home Affairs is putting together the bill. It will come to the Cabinet. May be there will be a Special Cabinet meeting early. There are no differences in the Government," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters outside Parliament House.

The Minister said there are different points expressed by different people with some suggesting that the word sexual assault must be retained while others favour the term rape.

"Then there is a issue whether the age of consent 18 or 16. That is why there is Cabinet," he said.

"In the Cabinet this would be resolved after few minutes of discussion. The bill will be cleared by Cabinet as early as possible and we have every intention to pass the bill before the deadline which is March 22," Chidambaram said reacting to a query.

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar also dismissed the suggestions that there is delay in passing the anti-rape law.

"There is no delay in passing of anti-rape law. We will have the new law early next week," he said.

Kumar said the Government is in the process of making the new law "that would be credible, which would be purposive, which would be efficient, efficacious and withstand the scrutiny of courts and the test of time".

The new measure would also replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012, introduced in Lok Sabha in December. The bill retains the provision that if rape leads to death of the victim or leaves her in a vegetative state, it can attract death penalty.


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