Amendments in Women Protection Laws in Offing

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SRINAGAR: Going ahead with its plans to bring in changes in the state’s laws against sexual offences and gender crimes, the government has initiated a process of consultations with state’s civil society activists and legal experts for reaching a consensus on the proposed amendments in the said laws.

Reliable sources said that the state government is planning to bring a bill amending the laws in the upcoming Budget session of the state Assembly. The state’s law department has already begun consultations with different sections of society including the Bar Associations at Jammu and Srinagar in an effort to finalise a list of amendments to be proposed in the bill, the sources added.  

Pertinently, in the aftermath of the infamous Delhi gang rape and sporadic incidents itself in the state, the state government had earlier announced that it was contemplating measures to incorporate stringent provisions in the existing laws aimed at protecting crimes against women.

Various experts, legal luminaries, politicians and common people across the country have been demanding enhancing the sentence of rape convicts death including chemical castration.

Official sources said, that the government is serious in bringing provisions in the state’s Ranbir Penal Code Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act for providing protection to women and arresting the growing trend of crimes against women in the socity.

Meanwhile, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Sagar Thursday confirmed that bringing in amendments in the relevant sections of the Ranbir Penal Code was under active consideration of the government.

“Every law is open to amendment and since we are witnessing an increase in crimes against women especially sexual violence, we have decided to amend the law and bring necessary provisions to ensure better protection to women”, the Law Minister said.

Sagar said the state’s law department has already begun the process of consultation with various legal experts, University students, scholars and civil society members apart from religious leaders for making the law more effective and bring in stricter punishments for the guilty. “We want the existing laws to be amended so that anyone found involved in crimes against women gets harsh punishments in a time bound manner”, Sagar added.

The Minister said that after wider consultations with legal and social experts on the subject, the amendments will be discussed in the state cabinet after which a bill to the effect will be tabled before the Budget session of the state Assembly. “I am sure the bill will be passed in the Assembly with full consensus and provisions will be brought in the existing laws which will go a long way in providing safety, security and dignity to women in the society”, he added.

The Minister said the recent popular demand and support for the cause of protection of women and their rights is a welcome development. “It is a positive sign that people are concerned for safety and security of women and whenever needed laws protecting women will be amended for making them feel secure and confident in the society”.

Pertinently the Minister had Tuesday held a meeting with department’s officials to review the laws in the state. 

“It was emphasised that effective and stringent provisions are needed in the law against sexual offences to make it a deterrent and in tune with public sentiments,” he had said. 

The changes in law will deal with various stages of the case, including investigation, prosecution and trial, he said. “Necessary initiatives will be taken to provide for fast-track investigation and fast track trial,” Sagar had said.KNS

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