Rejecting criticism that the anti-rape ordinance was an eyewash,
government today expressed the hope that it will have a deterrent effect
on potential criminals and said issues like reducing the age of
juvenile, marital rape and amending AFSPA would be considered later.
It also dismissed suggestions that the government has rejected some of
the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, which went into the
issue of tightening anti-rape laws, saying the ordinance reflected the
broadest consensus within the government.
Defending the ordinance, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said there was a
universal demand that laws must be amended immediately and the
government came to the conclusion that there was a strong case to
He said though criminal law can apply only prospectively and not
retrospectively, the changes made in the procedural laws through the
ordinance would apply on ongoing trials.
"Government hopes that the stringent provisions in the ordinance will
have a deterrent effect on potential criminals during the period between
now and the date on which the new law will be enacted by Parliament,"
he said at a press conference along with I and B Minister Manish
Asserting that the government has not rejected any of the
recommendations of Justice J S Verma Committee, Chidambaram said all
suggestions were not incorporated in the ordinance as these would be
studied and could be incorporated at a later stage.
The Finance Minister said the ordinance which was promulgated yesterday
contains 22 clauses and of these, 11 clauses have been taken from the
pending Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012 either wholly or
Tewari said it is obligatory for the government to introduce a Bill to
replace the ordinance and to get it passed in Parliament before the
expiry of the period of six weeks.
Asserting that the ordinance is only the starting point of a legislative
process, Chidambaram assured everyone that further consultations will
take place and the Bill to replace it will be introduceD in the in the
Budget session of Parliament.
"There will be discussions with the political parties. There will be a
debate in Parliament when the Bill is introduced to replace the
ordinance. These consultations, discussions and debate will afford ample
opportunity to make changes in the ordinance which was promulgated
"Government is confident that when the Bill to replace the ordinance is
introduced and passed in Parliament, the Bill will reflect the broadest
possible consensus on the imperative and urgent need to have an
effective law to protect women and to punish crimes against women," he
The Finance Minister said it would not be correct to say that any
recommendation of the Justice Verma Committee has b been rejected by the
The correct position, he said, was that some of its recommendations have
not been incorporated in the ordinance because of divergence of opinion
on the issues which requires more consultations and deliberations.
He cited the example of marital rape, reduction of age of juvenile's age
from 18 to 16 for defining the offence of "rape of an under-age person"
as issues that require more consultations and deliberations.
Similarly, the Verma Committee recommendations relating to creation of
the offence of "breach of command responsibility" and amending criminal
procedure code relating to sanction and the Armed Forces (Special
Powers) Act, 1958 have far reaching implications and had to be carefully
Stakeholders concerned, including the Armed Forces and the Police and Paramilitary forces have to be consulted, he said.
Chidambaram said there was an obligation on the government to introduce
the Bill to replace the ordinance and get it passed before six weeks
within reassembly of Parliament as required under Constitution.
He said substantive amendments have been made to the Indian Penal Code.
While the recommendations of the Verma Committee on punishment have been
accepted, death has been prescribed as the maximum punishment in case
of rape followed by injury which causes death or leaves the victim in a
persistent vegetative state.
Chidambaram said death has also been prescribed as the maximum
punishment in the case of a second conviction for the offence of sexual
assault or aggravated sexual assault cases. Besides, the ordinance
contains provisions amending the Code of Criminal Procedure and the
Indian Evidence Act.
"These amendments are intended to protect the dignity of the victim,
restrain any police excesses and facilitate better recording of
evidence. These provisions will ensure fair and speedy trial of such
cases and more stringent punishment to the convicted persons," he said.
The Finance Minister said there is broad convergence between the
provisions taken from the pending Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill and the
recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee.
He said the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs on
the 11 clauses taken from the pending Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill
2012 would be considered by the government at a later stage.
The Finance Minister said the issue of reducing the age of juvenile
would be dealt by the Home Ministry and the Women and Child Welfare
Ministry in due course.
Chidambaram said the Bill will reflect the broadest possible consensus
on imperatives and urgent need to have an effective law to protect women
and to punish the guilty.
"We are dealing with a grave issue. I appeal to everyone to deal with it
with utmost seriousness and sensitivity. I appeal to everyone to
respect the legislative process enshrined in the Constitution," he said.
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