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JS Verma panel: Road to reform

Thursday, 24 January 2013 - 2:27am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
A summary of recommendations made by Justice JS Verma panel.

Sexual offences

  • 20-year jail term for rape and murder; life for gang rape. Did not recommend death penalty, saying it is “regressive step” that “may not have a deterrent effect”; also against chemical castration, saying it fails to treat the social foundations of rape
  • Life term for gang rape followed by death
  • A rigorous imprisonment of not less than 20 years for causing death or a persistent vegetative state
  • Maximum sentences of seven years for stripping a woman, three years for stalking, four for groping and seven years for voyeurism, or spying on women
  • Maximum of five years of rigorous imprisonment or fine or both for intentional touching
  • Maximum 1-year jail term/fine or both for use of words and gestures of a sexual nature
  • Acid attacks to be punished by up to seven years in jail

Dowry

  • Crack down on dowry payments since families are often forced into massive debt to get their daughters married
  • All marriages must be registered — that should also ensure no dowry is demanded or taken

Marital rape

  • Remove exception in law which states that sexual intercourse between a man and his wife, who is not under the age of 15, is not rape
  • A marital or other relationship
  • between the perpetrator and victim is not a valid defence against the crimes of rape or sexual violation
  • The relationship between the accused and the complainant is not relevant to the inquiry into whether the complainant consented to the sexual activity
  • The fact that the accused and victim are married or are in any another intimate relationship may not be regarded as a mitigating factor justifying lower sentences for rape

No Impunity

  • Punish police and other officials
  • who fail to act on crimes against women
  • Amend section 100 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the right of private defence, in case a woman ends up killing her rapist
  • Change section 375 of IPC (defining rape) by defining specific unnatural acts
  • Every complaint of rape must be registered. Must address mild sexual harassment

The two-finger test

  • Do away with the ‘two-finger test’, wherein doctors check the vagina to determine if a hymen is present and to determine if the vagina is lax, which is taken as evidence that the woman routinely has sex and, thus, consented to intercourse

Right to her body

  • A separate bill of rights for women to ensure that a woman has the right to have complete sexual autonomy
  • A special procedure for protecting persons with disabilities from rape and requisite procedures for access to justice for such persons

Juveniles Involved in Crime

  • Against lowering the age from 18 of a juvenile under the Juvenile Justice Act
  • Government apathy towards missing children has to be shaken off. Trafficking of minor children must be made a serious offence

On Homosexuals

Conflict of interests?

  • Review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act
  • Bring sexual offences by armed forces and uniformed men in conflict areas under ordinary criminal law
  • Appointment of special commissioners with adequate powers to redress complaints of sexual violence against women in conflict areas

Piling cases
Appoint more judges to lessen the backlog of cases and ensure swift justice
Change and improve the mindset of the judiciary by
educating judges to get rid of gender biases

Sex education
It must be made an integral part of Indian student’s curriculum. It should be delivered by well trained and competent teachers and must necessarily involve the participation of counsellors who are trained in the field of child
psychology

Complete list of Justice JS Verma panel recommendations




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