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Give women right to kill rapist: JS Verma panel

Thursday, 24 January 2013 - 7:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
However, the three-member panel, which submitted its report to the Union home ministry, declined to recommend death penalty for rapists, saying existing laws were enough to deal with such offences.

Give women the right to kill rapist as part of self defence, Justice JS Verma Committee said on Wednesday in its recommendations for legislation and amendments to laws relating to crimes against women.

However, the three-member panel, which submitted its report to the Union home ministry, declined to recommend death penalty for rapists, saying existing laws were enough to deal with such offences but said amendments were needed.

The recommendation fell short of matching people’s demand for capital sentence to those found guilty in the rarest of rare cases of crimes. “There is considerable evidence that the deterrent effect of death penalty on serious crimes is actually a myth,” the committee said. The committee instead suggested that the maximum punishment should be life imprisonment for convicted rapists.

Giving the right of self defence to women, the committee proposed that if a woman ends up killing a rapist or a would-be rapist, she can claim the right to self defence under Section 100 of the IPC. The committee also suggested punishment for voyeurism and stalking should not be less than one year and can extend to three years with fine.

Stressing on the ill medical effects of chemical castration, the committee said, “It would be unconstitutional and inconsistent with basic human rights treaties for the state to expose any citizen without their consent to potentially dangerous medical side effects.”
“Chemical castration fails to treat the social foundations of rape which is about power and sexually deviant behaviour. We therefore hold that mandatory chemical castration as a punishment contradicts human rights standards,” the recommendations read.

Justice Verma said speedy justice is essential for efficacy of law. The number of judges can be increased in a phased manner without compromising with the quality, he added. Further, more effective control of subordinate judiciary by higher courts is required.
He said law enforcement agencies like the CBI must be insulated from external pressures. “They must not become a tool in the political hands.” Another issued emphasised by Justice Verma is transparency in performance by all institutions of governance.

The report said the Delhi gang rape case shows the failures of traffic regulations, maintenance of law and order and dealing of sexual assault cases.

The committee also suggested punishment for those employing trafficked persons despite knowing that the adult has been trafficked. The punishment suggested is five years imprisonment, which can extend to seven years, with a fine.

The panel also suggested a new section to the existing rape law and said, “A new section 376(3) should be added for death caused in the course of committing rape in a vegetative state and shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years or life.”

Include sex edu in syllabus
New Delhi: Sex education must be made an integral part of school curriculum, Justice Verma committee has suggested. The committee’s report said sex education should be delivered by well-trained and competent teachers and must involve the participation of counsellors who are trained in the field of child psychology.

Children and young people have to be prepared for their transition to adulthood, the report stressed.  There is a need for dispensing correct knowledge with respect to sexuality and sexual choices without enforcing gender stereotypes, it said.


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