A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram is likely to finalise the anti-rape Bill for Cabinet approval on Wednesday.
The GoM held its first meeting last evening to discuss various aspects of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, which aims at stringent punishment for sexual offences against women.
"Now we have completed the work substantially. I think we will require another hour or so," Chidambaram told reporters.
"I think we will require another hour or so. We have agreed to meet tomorrow (Wednesday) evening. The work will be completed tomorrow and the bill will go to the Cabinet on Thursday," he said.
" The sections that we have covered, all points of view have been taken into account and reconciled and a final version of the clause has emerged and we can do that for the remaining sections also. Tomorrow (Wednesday), the work will be complete and on Thursday the bill will go to the Cabinet," he added.
Union Law and Justice Minister Ashwani Kumar said that he was optimistic that they would be able to frame a law with regards to the safety of women.
"I have faith that a final decision would be taken on Friday and soon after that discussions would be held in both the houses of Parliament, and immediately we will give a comprehensive and substantial bill to the country for the safety of women," said Kumar.
A bill, which seeks to make punishment for crime against women more stringent, was earlier in the day referred to an EGoM for further consultations after differences erupted in the meeting of the Union Cabinet on certain provisions, including lowering the age of consensual sex to 16 years.
The anti-rape ordinance will be brought before the Union Cabinet only after the GoM holds a discussion and proposes changes to it.
The bill introduces a death penalty for rapists in cases where the victim dies as a result of rape or is left in a persistent vegetative state. Gang-rape is to be punished by 20 years in prison, extendable up to life in prison. Similar punishment is provided for repeat offenders as well.
It maybe recalled that the Centre had constituted the Justice Verma Committee to recommend changes in the laws that deal with crimes against women in wake of nationwide protest against the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012.