New Delhi: Facing growing protests over the gang-rape incident here, Government on Monday night issued a notification for reviewing the existing laws in a bid to provide speedier justice and enhanced punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault.
Announcing this, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said a three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma has been constituted to give recommendations on amending existing laws. The panel has been given 30 days to give its report to the government.
The Committee will look into possible amendments to criminal law for providing quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women.
The other members of the committee are Justice (retd) Leila Seth (former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court) and former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanian.
Under the existing law, the maximum punishment for rape is a life term but the nation-wide outrage over the gang-rape of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus last Sunday night has sparked a demand for death penalty for rape convicts. BJP has also favoured death for perpetrators of such crime and demanded a special session of Parliament for amending the laws.
Shinde said the notification showed the government is serious about taking stringent action against those involved in the Delhi gang-rape case at the earliest.
"The notification reflects how serious the government is. I assure the country that we are serious," he told reporters here.
Gang-rape case: Ex-CJI to constitute Commission of Inquiry
A former Chief Justice of India will constitute the Commission of Inquiry which will go into the gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus here, lapses by police and and measures to be taken to ensure safety of women in Delhi and other parts of the country.
This was disclosed today by Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Dharmendra Kumar here on Monday at a press conference during which he also said the government has also set up a three-member committee, which has former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma as one of its members, to examine the possibility of enhancing punishment for rape laws.
He also said for fast track action in this incident, senior High Court lawyer Dyan Krishnan will be a Special Prosecutor and ensure that the trial is finished in a short time.
On the demand for action against those responsible for not protecting the girl, Kumar said, "a Commission of Inquiry has been set up under a very senior retired Supreme Court Chief Justice.
"The former CJI is going to inquire into the entire episode as to why this thing happened and why it could not be prevented and what measures should be taken in Delhi and the rest of the country to improve the safety of women and also even to look into whether there were lapses or not," he said.
For enhancement of punishment for rape, he said the committee which was set up to look into the matter has Verma, Justice Lalita Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam as its members.
"Within a short time, they will examine the possibility of enhancing punishment for rape laws," Kumar said.
On the youth groups' third demand for fast track action, he said lawyer Krishnan has volunteered to come forward as a Special Prosecutor and he will do a day-to-day prosecution in this matter and ensure that the trial is finished in a short time.
"All the main demands of the public have been met. So we have been requesting to maintain calm and peace and not be hijacked," he said.