Anti-rape law: Debate over use of word rape, age of consent

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Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013, 11:53 [IST]
 
Anti-rape law:Controversy over word rape

New Delhi, March 7: In the wake of brutal Delhi gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in the national capital, the demand for strong laws to curb sexual assault on women has increased.

Even central government promised to bring strong anti-rape law to punish the perpetrators of violence against women. Justice JS Verma committee was formed by the government to come up with recommendations.

But, the anti-rape law has hit hurdles over several contentious issues. The primary among them is the use of word "rape" or "sexual assault".

Television reports say the bill was not discussed by the Cabinet on Thursday, March 7. Many cabinet members have expressed strong reservations over several amendments proposed by the home ministry.

Law Ministry seems to have reservations about replacing the word sexual harassment with rape saying that this limits it to just women-related crimes.

Moreover, there is opposition to the recommendation of reducing the age of consensual sex from 18 to 16, which were part of recommendations by the Justice JS Verma committee.

Sources say Law Ministry wants it to be lowered to below 16. But many have protested that even 18 to 16 should not be done. Sexual intercourse under the age of consent is considered statutory rape.

The women's groups and human rights bodies want "all parties aligned with women's rights to ensure that laws made in the wake of the brutal Delhi gang-rape case do not leave women even more vulnerable than they already are".

"The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the 2012 Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill as well as the 2013 Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance not only violates the letter and spirit of the Justice Verma Committee (JVC) recommendations but endangers and deepens women's vulnerability in this country," said a representative of women's group.

OneIndia News


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