The Justice Verma panel, which is a 3-member commission created to review the laws for sexual crimes submitted the report to the Government of India on 23 January 2013. Justice Verma panel was created after the brutal gang rape of the Para-medical student on 16 December 2012. Former Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Verma headed the commission and reviewed the laws on sexual crimes which exist already.
The report was prepared by the panel in its 30-day deadline. The former CJI described that there were more than 80000 suggestions from the length and breadth of India as well as abroad after 5 January 2013 was declared as the deadline for receiving comments from common man in order to refurbish the present legislation that deals with the sex offenders.
The Justice Verma panel recognised failure of governance as primary cause of sexual crimes. The panel additionally criticised the police, government and also the public for the lack of interest and also recommended changes in the entire society.
Some of the changes described by the Justice Verma panel as follows:
•There is a need for overall wide spectrum of law for violence against the women.
•It is important to address even the placid sexual harassment and that each and every complaint of sexual harassment should be registered.
•Anyone committing rape shall be given rigorous imprisonment which may range from seven years to life term.
•Punishment for rape that leads to death or vegetative state should be given rigorous imprisonment ranging from not less than 20 years to the remaining life of a convict.
•Crimes like gang-rape shall entail punishment ranging from not less than 20 years to whole life of the convict.
•Gang-rape causing death of the victim shall amount to life imprisonment for the convict.
•The crimes such as voyeurism and stalking, even-teasing as well as insensitivity of the police for dealing with the rape cases shall also be punished.
•Voyeurism will lead to a punishment of up to 7 years.
•Justice Verma panel also included in its review the crimes such as uncalled-for sexual contact as well as stalking.
•Stalking or attempting to contact a woman repeatedly via any means shall land the person in jail for up to 3 years.
•The panel also suggested that there was a need of provisions for addressing the sexual assault on the homosexuals.
•The panel also mentioned in its report the Khap panchayat mentioning that Khaps were unconstitutional and they had no right to declare the marriage invalid.
•In order to preserve the rules of law, there is a need for police reforms as well.
•The Panel suggested that Law enforcement agencies should not work as slaves of the political masters.
•There was a need to stop politicisation of crime. As of now, the politicians facing conviction are disqualified for the elections, but the panel suggested that these politicians should be disqualified in case cognizance of the offence is taken in the court. There was no need to even wait for ending of the trial.
•The uncertainty about responsibility of law and order in the capital of India, which was the reason given by CM for absence of responsibility should be removed.
•There was a need of reforms to prevent marital rape as well as rape of children in their homes.
•There was a need to bring sexual violence by the personnel on duty under one common law.
•The panel suggested the need to take into consideration, the continuance of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the areas at the earliest.
•There was a need for posting special commissioners in the conflict areas for the safety of the women.
•There was also the need of effective control of the subordinate judiciary by the high courts.
•No delay should be there in imparting the necessary medical aid to the victims, even in case of the private practitioners.
•The general laws which were applicable to detention of women in the regular hours need to be followed sternly.
•There was a need of stringent measures for ensuring dignity as well as security of the women, especially in the conflict areas.
•Violation of equality of women should be considered constitutional violation.
•There was a need for the separate Bill of Rights for women that will make sure that women would have their own rights for having sexual autonomy.
•All the marriages should be registered, while making sure that there was no demand for dowry.
•There was a need for amendment of Criminal law amendment bill 2012.
•Journey of women in public transport needed to be made safer.
•There was a need of special procedures for protecting the people with disabilities from the crimes such as rape.
•Juvenile homes should be run in spirit as envisaged in Juvenile Justice Act. The Panel additionally noticed that these juvenile homes became a hub for all kinds of sexual crimes.
•Indifferent attitude of the government towards missing children needed to be taken into consideration.
•Minor children trafficking should be considered as a serious offence.
•Trafficking should be made punishable with imprisonment ranging from not less than 7 years to 10 years.
•In case, a police officer or a public servant is involved in child trafficking, it should be dealt with in a stricter manner than usual.
•The judiciary of India should have core responsibility of making sure that the fundamental rights through the constitutional remedies are fulfilled. The CJI has the right to take up suo motu cognizance and social activists should help the court in this.
•In terms of education, there was a need to make sure non-discrimination towards children and women.
DISCLAIMER: JPL and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.