Verma Panel Proposes 20 Yrs Jail for Rapists

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NEW DELHI: The Justice J.S. Verma committee, set up to suggest ways to make rape laws stronger in the country, submitted its report Wednesday. The committee was set in the wake of the gruesome gang-rape of a trainee physiotherapist in Delhi last month.

Speaking to reporters later, Justice Verma said he was impressed by the “spontaneous” response of the youth against the Dec 16 gang-rape.

He said it was a “stupendous task” of compiling the report in one month’s time and they got response from organisations and students around the world.

“This is just the beginning of the change,” he said, adding that he hopes the report will be taken up “seriously” in the coming parliament session.

“Many recommendations made in the past for women have not been implemented. We have perfect laws but they remain ineffective,” he added.

He also said that the first step is to stop eve-teasing or sexual harassment and stalking from society.

“It is a serious matter… these practices are tolerated by the society. We need to first deal with the first step as it graduates to sexual assault,” he told reporters.

Recommendations at a glance

* Whoever commits the offence of rape shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but may extend to imprisonment for life.

* Punishment for causing death or a persistent vegetative state shall be given rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years but may be for life also, which shall mean the rest of the person’s life.

*Gang-rape will entail a punishment of not less than 20 years, but which also may extend to life.

* Gang-rape followed by death shall be punished with life imprisonment.

* Voyeurism will be punished with upto seven years.

* Stalking or attempts to contact a person repeatedly through any means shall be liable to get a term of upto three years.

* Acid attacks would be punished by upto seven years.

* A separate Bill of Rights for women that entitles a woman a life of dignity and security.

* Review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

* Trafficking will be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years, but which may also extend to 10 years.

* A separate Bill of Rights for women which will ensure that a woman shall have the right to have complete sexual autonomy including with respect to her relationships.

*A special procedure for protecting persons with disabilities from rape and requisite procedures for access to justice for such persons. Agencies

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