As outrage against the death of the Delhi gang-rape victim, Congress has decided to propose a tougher law to check crimes against women which could include a provision like chemical castration of perpetrators of rape in rare cases. The final draft of the Congress' bill, which is to be submitted to the Justice JS Verma-led Committee set up by the Centre in the wake of the horrific incident on December 16, has not, however been readied yet, sources said.
Some of the provisions of this tougher law include imprisonment up to 30 years for rape convicts and setting up of fast track-courts to decide the cases within 3 months and were discussed in the presence of party chief Sonia Gandhi on December 23 when she had held a meeting with a group of people protesting against the gang-rape incident.
Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, which has framed and helped frame many a landmark legislations like RTI, is likely to be involved in the whole exercise. Sources said the women and child development ministry headed by Krishna Tirath held a marathon meet with stakeholders on the issue on Friday during which several suggestions were made.
The ministry will now prepare a summary of the suggestions received and will submit it to the Justice Verma-headed three-member committee set up to review existing laws make recommendations changes in them to effectively check crimes against women. "There is no government draft till now. The summary that we submit to the JS Verma Committee will be the first written document on which the new law will be based," sources said.
In the meeting with the protesters at her 10 Janpath residence, Gandhi had favoured fast track courts for trying rape cases with a 90-day cap while Renuka Chowhdary had made a strong pitch for chemical castration to rape accused saying such a punishment is already in practice in various countries and that it had a deterrent effect, sources said.
There is also a suggestion to re-define the juvenile and lower their age. One of the accused in the ghastly rape case, who inflicted maximum brutality on the victim, is a juvenile and aged a few months less than 18 years. A view has been expressed by a section that only those aged below 15 years should be described as juvenile.
The proposal of the women and child ministry will undergo legal scrutiny and an ordinance is likely to be brought after the proposal is vetted by the home and the law ministry. Since the next session of Parliament is over two months away, the government is contemplating bringing the ordinance, an issue discussed in the last two core group meetings of Congress on December 24 and 29, sources said
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