None of Justice Verma panel recommendations rejected: Chidambaram

The government defended its decision to come out with an ordinance on sexual assault, saying it has an open mind to other suggestions that might follow.

New Delhi: Asserting that the government is committed to introducing a strong bill to amend laws regarding crimes against women, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the ordinance approved by the Union Cabinet is not a final decision, and it is an obligation on the government to introduce a bill and get it passed in Parliament within six weeks.

Addressing a press conference here with Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari, Chidambaram said: “Since there was a universal demand that the law must be amended immediately, the government came to the conclusion that there was a strong case for the ordinance.”

Rubbishing the Left parties’ allegation that the ordinance is merely an eyewash, Chidambaram said the government has been faithful to the Justice Verma Committee report, but some of their recommendations have not been incorporated in the ordinance, as there are divergences of opinion.

“The Justice Verma Committee gave its report in record time and we are deeply grateful for them, but some recommendations have not been incorporated in the ordinance as there are divergences of opinion, which require more consultations,” said Chidambaram.

“We are dealing with a grave issue, which has to be dealt with utmost seriousness. Marital rape is a difficult issue on which we will have to hear the opinion of everybody, because there is no universality of opinion on the issue. The government has not included a few clauses, but it hasn`t rejected anything,” he added.

Chidambaram expressed hope that the stringent provisions of ordinance will deter potential criminals between now and the time the new law is passed by Parliament.

"The ordinance is the first step in the making of law," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told the media here.

President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday signed the ordinance on sexual assault, which was passed by the Union Cabinet on Friday. But some women`s rights groups are blaming that the government has selectively accepted the recommendations of the Justice Verma commission.