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Govt has responded to Verma Commission report with sensitivity

Last Updated: Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 22:01

New Delhi: In the wake of protests by women`s groups over the criminal law ordinance ignoring suggestions of Verma Commission on criminalising marital rape and reviewing AFSPA, government on Saturday defended the proposed legislation saying it has responded to the recommendations with "utmost sincerity."

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar also said that law-making was a "continuous process" and issues not covered in the ordinance could be dealt with by other laws.

"We have responded (to the recommendations of the Verma committee) with utmost sensitivity...Government is entitled to form its own views," he said.

He was responding to questions on protests by women`s groups over the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance ignoring recommendations on Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and marital rape.

He said the ordinance, cleared by the Union Cabinet last night, deals with amendments to IPC, CrPC and the Evidence Act.

Kumar said the ordinance, which will come up for approval by Parliament in the coming Budget Session, was a "comprehensive" mix of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012 pending in the Lok Sabha and the recommendations of the Verma committee.

As per the ordinance, marital rape will also attract stringent punishment. Sex by husband with his wife during separation without consent will lead upto seven years of imprisonment, according to the ordinance.

The Verma Committee had recommended deletion of IPC`s Section 376A (intercourse by a man with his wife during separation) under which currently maximum punishment is two years. Implied in that was the view that marital rape should also be brought under the definition of rape.

Several women organisations have demanded deletion of Section 376A as recommended by Verma panel and are planning to appeal to President not to sign the proposed ordinance.

The government has also rejected another recommendation of the panel on AFSPA that no sanction would be required if the armed forces personnel are accused of a crime against woman.


First Published: Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 22:01
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