Justice Verma Committee Report: Recommending action or giving Gyan

24 Jan

Verma Committee report after Delhi Gang Rape

Justice J. S. Verma (centre) with Justice Leila Seth (left) and Gopal Subramaniam

Justice Verma committee, a three member committee headed by Justice JS Verma(former chief justice of India) was formed after the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old women in Delhi to suggest the amendments to laws relating to crime against women. The committee after its formation had issued a notice seeking suggestions from the public by email or fax, the deadline of submitting such suggestions was set to 5th January 2013.The committee was given a deadline of 30 days to submit their report, a 631-page report was finalized in 29 days and was submitted on January 23, 2013 to the home ministry of India.

According to Mr. Verma, the committee received 80,000 suggestions from Indians, women activists and students from all over the world. Now coming to the point of how effective the Verma committee report is, first of all does it sound real that it took only 29 days to review 80,000 suggestions and come up with a final 631-page report. Surely Mr Verma a 79 year old and the other two members in the committee, Leila Seth-82 years and Gopal Subramaniam-54 years must have worked like super computers to have come up with 631-page report in just 29 days to challenge the current weak laws pertaining to crime against women in India. The Verma Committee, which was constituted by the Indian government, a move to calm down the Indian police and rape victims in India cartoonprotesters on the streets, has again failed to address one basic problem which is amending the current laws on crime against women to an extent that no Tom, Dick or Harry on the streets of India even dare to think about committing any type of crime against women. The Verma committee suggestions are more like gyan or best practices or a roadmap which in some form are already part of the current judicial system. The Verma committee in their report have only suggested and preached the obvious things which we all agree to and no major steps have been taken to create a state of fear in the mind of criminals or future criminals.

Here are key highlights of the report:

No alteration of the legally defined age of juvenile from 18 to 16 years.
- A key demand by Indians after one of the accused involved in the Delhi gang-rape was found to be below 18 years.

Whoever commits the offence of rape shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than seven years but may extend to imprisonment for life.
- Why not death sentence?

Gang-rape will entail a punishment of not less than 20 years, which also may extend to life.
- Why not death sentence?

Gang-rape followed by death shall be punished with life imprisonment.
- Why not death sentence?

MPs facing criminal charges should vacate their seats to honor the Parliament.
- Why not they be barred from politics completely?

Acid attacks would be punished by up to seven years.
- Just seven years for spoiling someone’s life?

A separate Bill of Rights for women that entitles a woman a life of dignity and security.
- Verma Committee’s gyan.

Punishment for causing death or a persistent vegetative state shall be given rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years but may be for life also.
- Why not death sentence?

Establish a new constitutional authority similar to CAG for education and non-discrimination of women and children for proper audit of laws.
- Creating another category of police, will it help?

Increase the strength of judges without affecting the quality.
- Whole India knows this since long, nothing new.

Implement police reforms for better autonomy and functioning of the police force.
- Whole India knows this since long, nothing new.

Government must tackle trafficking of children and maintain data on the same.
- Shame on Indian Government/Police if it’s currently not happening.

Make sure that law enforcement agencies do not become tools at the hands of political masters.
- Whole India knows this since long, nothing new.

Bring transparency and accountability to the functioning of all institutions of governance.
- Whole India knows this since long, nothing new.

The ambiguity on who is responsible for the law and order issues in Delhi should be removed with an immediate effect.
- Delhi state government vs. central government issue, a long known fact to fool Delhi people.

All marriages should be registered. Magistrate should ensure that no dowry is taken.
- Verma Committee’s gyan.

Any officer who fails to report a case of rape or delays the same should be punished.
- Shame on Indian Government/Police if it’s currently not happening.

The committee has framed a protocol for medical examination of rape victim. The same should be followed.
- Addresses how to handle a rape case rather than preventing rape.

Sexual violence against women perpetrated by armed forces should be brought under the purview of ordinary law.
- Shame on Indian Government/Police if it’s currently not happening.

Will Verma Committee suggestions help prevent crime against women in India?

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