Verma committee recommendations and the Union Cabinet
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Friday recommended promulgation of an ordinance to amend the criminal law with focus on crime against women by incorporating some of the suggestions of Justice J S Verma Committee.
The following are the recommendations of the Verma Commitee which have been accepted in toto, accepted in part not (not) accepted.
Those which were accepted in toto include Gangrape (Section 376C ), Sexual Assault and Punishment for Sexual Assault (Section 354), Assault or use of criminal force on woman with intent to disrobe her (Section 354 A), Voyeurism (Section 354 B), Stalking (Section 354 C (1), Punishment for stalking (Section 354 C (2))M Trafficking of a Person (Section 370).
Other provisions accepted in toto: Section 376A (re-numbered as 376B) Sexual intercourse by a Person in Authority, Section 376E Punishment for Repeat Offenders, Section 160: No male below 18 and above 65 years and woman or physically disabled shall be required to attend a Police Station, Section 198B: Cognisance of an offence u/s 376(1) when persons are in marital relationship.
Also accepted in toto:-- Proviso to Section 273: Recording of evidence of a victim below 18 years - victim will not be confronted by the accused, Section 327: Substitution of new offences defined for rape (376A, 376B, 376C, 376D), Proviso in Section 146: Question regarding the moral character will not be put to the victim during cross examination.
Those recommendations which are partially accepted are: Section 100: Right to Private Defence - Inclusion of an acid attack u/s 326A was accepted only and the rest proposed was already existing in the IPC, Section 166A: Public Servant disobeying direction under law - Directions relating to crimes against women proposed to be made punishable upto only one year against the recommended five years as proposed by Justice Verma Committee.
Other provisions accepted partially are: Section 326A: Voluntarily causing grievous hurt through use of acid etc. - Female circumcision proposed was not accepted. - Compensation adequate to meet at least the medical expenses incurred by the victim was not accepted, Section 326B: Voluntarily throwing or attempting to throw acid etc. - Compensation adequate to meet at least the medical expenses incurred by the victim was not accepted.
Section 375 Rape - Gender Neutrality of the act was not recommended which was not accepted by MHA. The Bill criminalises the sexual activities between 16 and 18 years which the Verma Committee did not agree. Verma Committee criminalises marital non-consensual sexual intercourse which is not accepted. Rest of the recommendations were accepted.
Section 376 (1) Punishment for Rape - Payment of compensation to the victim was dropped. Rest of the Section 376 (2) Aggravated Rape - Payment of compensation to the victim was dropped. Rest of the recommendation was accepted.
Section 376 (3) Punishment for causing death or a persistent vegetative state in the course of committing rape - Death penalty was preferred by Home Ministry. Rest of the recommendation were accepted.
Proviso to Section 154 Registration of an Offence - Provision to record evidence by police officer at the residence of the person reporting the offence. Mandatory videographing was not agreed to and converted to optional.
Section 164 (5)(a) and (6)(b) Recording statement by a Magistrate - special assistance for mentally or physically disabled persons to be given by Magistrate.
Statement of mentally or physically disabled person to be considered sufficient for examination-in-chief and cross examination. However, mandatory videography not agreed to and changed to optional.
Those recommendations which were not accepted are: Section 376A: Sexual by husband upon his wife during separation - Verma Committee wanted to delete it. Was retained by Home Ministry as marital rape was not agreed to.
Under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 Proviso to Section 6: No sanction would be required if the armed force personnel is accused of a crime against woman. This was not accepted by the government.
Section 376B (1): Rape of an Underage Person - Not accepted as the provision is in conflict with the PCSOA, 2012.
Section 376 B (2) Punishment for causing death or a persistent vegetative state in the course of committing rape of an underage person - Death penalty was not recommended.
Section 376F: Offence of breach of Command Responsibility - fixes vicarious criminal responsibility on the leader of a force for acts of subordinates. Not accepted.
Section 39(1) Clause (vb) - Compel communication of information of offence relating to crimes against women to the nearest Magistrate - Not accepted as it is liable to be misused.
Section 197(1) Sanction for prosecution - no sanction would be required for prosecution of Judge or Magistrate or Public servant if accused of crimes against women. Not agreed to avoid false complaints.
Section 40A: Intimation by the Panchayat member the communication of information of offence relating to crimes against women to the nearest Magistrate - Not accepted as it is liable to be misused.
Section 357(4) Compensation to victim - Payment of compensation of an amount adequate to meet at least the medical expenses incurred by the victim. This is not acceptable as the compensation would be very low. The Bill has a better provision.