Delhi gang-rape case 'rarest of the rare': CPI(M)



New Delhi: CPI(M) on Friday said the recent Delhi gang-rape-cum-murder case was "rarest of the rare" for which existing laws provided death penalty and suggested life sentence till death for "aggravated" sexual assault.

The party, in a note to the Justice Verma Committee on amendments to the laws on sexual assaults and violence against women, also sought rephrasing of "archaic" terms like 'outraging the modesty of a woman' with sexual harrasment and sought stringent punishment for such crimes.

It urged the panel to recommend a stand-alone law to deal with 'khap panchayats' and their diktats, including their disenfranchisement.

CPI(M) also suggested treating of acid attacks on women as a serious crime and enhancing the minimum sentence to a maximum of life imprisonment. It also demanded rehabilitation measures mandated by law including financial help for victims of sexual assault.

"This particular case of gang-rape and murder (in Delhi) would certainly fall in the category of 'rarest of the rare' cases. Within the existing legal framework itself the sentence could be the death penalty for the criminals for which there are already legal precedents," the party's note said.

"Archaic" phrases like outraging the modesty of women "must be redrafted to specifically use the term sexual harassment and the punishment enhanced," it said, adding that sexual harassment has nothing to do with the modesty of a woman and everything to do with impermissible sexual behaviour and assertion of power by the criminals.

Regarding khap panchayats, it said inspite of a surge in 'honour crimes', the government has failed to bring a law to deal with them and their illegal 'fatwas' (diktats), ranging from dress codes for young women and school girls to ban on friendships and self-choice partnerships and punishments like boycotts to public lynching and killings.

PTI