Delhi gangrape: Need effective law to protect women, says Chidambaram

P Chidambaram

He said there is no consensus yet on demands for amending Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

"The Juvenile Justice Act is a separate law. Whether the age should be reduced, whether it should reduced for certain kinds of offences, what you call heinous offences, is a matter that has to be considered very carefully and within the permissible limits of the Constitution," Chidambaram said, adding the government would approach Parliament on the issue, if necessary.

He said due to a lack of consensus on issues of marital rape and harassment at workplace, these have not been incorporated in the ordinance.

The minister said since a criminal law can only be applied prospectively, the ordinance will not be applicable to the December 16 Delhi gangrape case but its provisions on procedural law will help in "quicker completion of the trial".

He maintained that the ordinance was needed as the matter relating to crime against women could "brook no delay" and only an ordinance could establish a law immediately while passage of a Bill would take time.

The ordinance has incorporated some provisions of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012 which is with the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, the minister said. The Committee's recommendations will be included in the Bill on sexual violence against women when it comes up in Parliament.

Describing the ordinance as only a "starting point", Chidambaram said all sections, including political parties, should rise above partisan interests to support the issue.

He maintained that the government has been "completely faithful" to the Verma Committee recommendations and has come up with a "satisfactory" ordinance.

The minister emphasised on the need for more fast track courts, more judges and also sensitising of the police force, especially at the level of the constabulary.

'Rape with death' will attract death penalty

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