Presenting a scathing report on the socio-political and justice system, capable of forcing every person in the government, police, judiciary, politics and society to do a serious introspection, the justice JS Verma committee on Wednesday suggested path-breaking changes in various laws, including the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Representation of People’s Act.
Its report, however, is against meting out death penalty for rape, chemical castration and reducing the juvenile age in case of brutal rape. Instead, it gives varied recommendations to reform the socio-political and justice delivery system, along with changes in laws.
Tasked with recommending measures to improve laws dealing with sexual offences, the committee’s report, running into 630 pages, received around 80,000 suggestions from world over.
Justice Verma said the failure of governance was the root cause of crimes against women. He did not spare Union home secretary RK Singh for lauding the Delhi police commissioner after the gang rape there. “The least he could have done was to seek an apology for the failure of the duty to protect citizens.”
Stressing the need to address the root causes of gender biases, he said, “The first thing is to begin at home... Women are not carriers of perceived justice.”
In one of its far-reaching recommendations on the issue of marital rape, the report seeks changes in domestic laws and asks giving complete sexual autonomy to women.
Headed by former CJI Jagdish Sharan Verma, the committee consists of former CJ Leila Seth and former solicitor general Gopal Subramanian. It was on December 23, 2012, asked to recommend measures to improve laws dealing with sexual offences. It wrapped up its work in 29 days.