Chidambaram defends Ordinance on Sexual Crimes

TNI Bureau: The government defended its new anti-rape laws amidst sharp criticism from the women’s groups saying, the ordinance is just the first step of legislative process to bring strong law against the rape criminals.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that there will be changes in the ordinance, which introduced the death penalty for extreme rape.

Defending the government, Chidambaram said that the ordinance on sexual harassment was brought as there was an urgent need for amending the criminal law. However, more consultations will take place on ordinance, which has to be cleared by parliament within six months.

He said that Marital rape a difficult issue in which the government needs more consultations. Some clauses like AFSPA need more discussions. He said that there will be debate on the ordinance; the political parties will be consulted before clearing the law.

He welcomed the suggestions from public to replace ordinance with a bill in the Parliament. He rejected the claims that the recommendations of Justice JS Verma Committee have been ignored. He said that the government is committed to improve safety for women after brutal gangrape of para-medical student in Delhi.

The ordinance, which was signed by President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday, was highly criticised by women’s groups. They alleged that the government has not accepted many of the recommendations of the Justice Verma commission.

Justice Verma, former Supreme Court judge, wanted marital rape to be treated as a criminal offense, and all men in uniforms to be tried according to criminal law for sexual crimes, rather than being prosecuted in army courts. However, the Cabinet did not approve that recommendation in the draft.

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