New Delhi: Rejecting suggestions that
government was diluting the definition of rape, Home Minister
P Chidambaram Tuesday said moves were afoot to widen the term to
include all kinds of sexual assault.
"We are not going to dilute the definition of rape. The
definition of rape will be widened to include all kinds of
sexual assaults," he said replying to supplementaries during
The suggestion to make sexual assault gender neutral was
made by a high-powered committee headed by Home Secretary
G K Pillai a few days back.
A similar recommendation was also made in a report of the
Law Commission, Chidambaram said adding the Home Ministry
would soon bring a bill in this regard.
Making sexual assault "gender neutral" will imply that the
relevant sections of IPC can be slapped on accused of any
gender who has committed the crime.
As per Section 375 of IPC, penetration is sufficient to
constitute sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape
but with the proposed replacements coming in, sexual assault
will also cover crimes like sodomy, insertion of foreign
object and other similar offences which do not come under the
present definition of rape.
To a question on harassment of `in-laws` in case of dowry
deaths, Chidambaram said instructions have been issued to
arrest only those who are directly involved in the case and
not the extended family.
The House witnessed some lighter moments when DMK leader T
R Baalu sought figures from the government on the number of
"greedy mothers-in-law" convicted in dowry-related cases.
However, Chidambaram said it would be difficult to give
the requested figures.
The Home Minister said according to National Crime Records
Bureau 8172 cases of dowry deaths were registered in 2008,
while chargesheets were filed in 6700 cases. As many as 5814
persons were convicted.
According to the figures submitted, 7618 dowry death cases
were registered in 2006 of which chargesheets were filed in
6220 cases and 5144 persons were convicted.
In 2007, 8093 cases were registered, 7048 chargesheets
filed and 5580 persons convicted.
To a question, Chidambaram said the ministry was working
on defining honour killings.