Anti-rape Bill delayed again, referred to Group of Ministers

Anti-rape Bill delayed

New Delhi: A new proposal for tough anti-rape laws has been delayed again by the government, which has been trying to establish its commitment to improving safety for women since the fatal gang-rape of a student on a Delhi bus triggered protests and a call for change.

The bill, which has to be introduced in parliament, has divided the cabinet over key features like whether the age of consent should be lowered from 18 to 16.

To find consensus, a group of ministers headed by P Chidambaram will review the bill, which is based largely on the recommendations of the Verma Commission, a three-member panel of legal experts which was set up in December amid national outrage over the student’s gang-rape. Named for retired chief justice JS Verma, the commission suggested important and over-arching amendments to existing laws for crimes against women.

At a cabinet meeting this morning, senior ministers were not able to agree on issues like whether the word “rape” should replace “sexual assault” in the proposal, and how to define voyeurism and stalking, which the bill identifies as criminal offenses.

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar allegedly expressed his concern about not enough safeguards against false evidence and testimony.

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About Nisha Sharma

Nisha Sharma earlier was a blogger covering Bollywood Gossips. She worked some online news agencies earlier before joining Reporter Today in February 2012. Her Association with this Organization has brought in valued content for our readers.