4:45 pm: Once cognisance of crimes taken by court, leaders should demit office
In order to take action against politicisation of crime the committee has recommended that elected leaders should demit their office if a court takes cognisance of a case in which they are booked.
“For the purpose of honouring institutional integrity, we have urged sitting members of Parliament in this category should step down,” Verma said.
According to the former judge, this would honour Parliament.
4:35 pm: Government must end its apathy, says Verma
“The government’s apathy has to be shaken off and that is where civil society comes in. The pressure must be kept on,” Verma said
There needs to be a census of missing children will help prevent trafficking, the committee noted.
“Someone who is supposed to know about this, a senior police official, approached the committee asking about the Home Ministry circular from 2012 and asking for a copy,” Verma said.
He said they had also made suggestions to the judiciary.
“The judiciary has primary responsibility of ensuring constitutional rights of people,” he said.
Juvenile and observation homes are not being run in a spirit of the Juvenile Justice Act, the committee noted.
Apart from increasing the police force, there should also be more citizen policing to ensure security in localities and deal with petty crimes. They also recommended better street lighting and public infrastructure.
4:30 pm: Dowry should be stopped, new medical protocol suggested for rape victims
All marriages in India should be registered and all magistrates registering it should ensure that no dowry is paid,” Verma said, pointing out that dowry was a major cause for it.
Men, bisexuals and transgenders are also a reality and laws should cater to their rights as well, Verma said.
“Every complaint of rape must be registered…Most complaints are not reported and those reported are not investigated,” he said, adding that action should be taken against police officials failing to take action.
The committee had also attempted to come up with a standard protocol to deal with rape victims, he said.
4:25 pm: ‘Existing laws enough to deal with crimes against women if implemented’
Existing laws if faithfully implemented are enough to ensure the safety of women, Verma said.
“Available personnel of the judiciary and structure with a few changes can help,” he said, referring to speeding up trials in sexual assault cases.
More effective control of subordinate judiciary by the higher courts would also help in dealing with such cases, the former judge said.
The committee has also suggested changes to law enforcement agencies to ensure that political influence does not affect their working.
“Apathy of civil society is also evident from the fact that people passed by the victim of the Delhi gangrape,” he said.
The lathi charge on protesters has scarred the Indian democracy, the committee said.
“Brutality of armed forces has also led to a deep disenchantment,” Verma said.
4:20 pm : Special laws to protect armed personnel should be done away with
Armed forces must be brought under common law, Subramaniam said.
“General law relating to detention of women must be strictly followed,” he said.
There is an urgent need to review the AFSPA in conflict areas to detemine the propriety of such laws, he said.
Mechanisms need to be put in place to take action against military and para military forces in conflict zones, Subramaniam said.
Justice Leila Seth also said that khaps and other extra-judicial bodies that apply laws do not enjoy the sanction of law.
4:15 pm: Committee comes down hard on government for failing to tackle crime against women
The committee headed by Justice JS Verma today came down hard on the government mechanisms and the police force in the country for not ensuring security of women in the country and has made recommendations to improve the condition of women in Indian society and preventing sexual assault.
The committee said that it had received over 80,000 suggestions from various groups representing women, international groups, political parties, students and other individuals.
The measures already taken after the committee was created, following the gangrape of the 23-year-old, showed how much could be done and should have been done earlier, Verma said.
The executive has taken many measures and the judiciary had also issued notifications to ensure the safety of women, he said.
However, he said that a primary problem was preventing crime against women.
“Why not ensure the root cause is prevented? Have a safe environment so that such incidents don’t take place,” Verma said.
He said the Indian governance systems had failed to tackle crimes against women to ensure equality for them.
“Failure of governance is the obvious cause for the current situation,” he said.
He pointed out that law commissions and other reports related to sexual assault cases and dealing with it continue to gather dust.
“One of the interesting features, because it is laughable, is that we expected response from the DGPs. There was hardly any response from any of them,” Verma said.
“If this is an attitude of DGPs then there needs to be a change in the steps taken to appoint the DGPs, which is among the recommendations we have made,”
“The committee hopes that the concern shown by the government will not wane with the passage of time,” he said.
A positive reaction to the tragedy which caused the government to constitute the committee would be a tribute to the victim of the 16 December gangrape and assault.
“I was shocked when I saw soon after the incident the Delhi police commissioner being given a pat on the abck by someone no less than the home secretary. I was completely shocked as a citizen,” he said.
The least he could have done was seek an apology for failing to protect a citizen, he said, emphasising the need for sensitivity while implementing laws.
Civil society has to aid government bodies in implementing laws, Justice Verma said, adding that people should have come to the aide of the 23-year-old gangrape victim and her male companion.
“We are of the opinion that Indian women have suffered on many counts due to which the de facto equality guaranteed under the constitution has not been provided. We could not confine ourselves to IPC or CrPC,” he said.
“In the view of the committee the protests are a call to India to change the manner in which women are treated,” Gopal Subramaniam, another member of the committee, said.
The report deals with sexual crime at all levels and prevention and dealing with all forms of sexual assault, Subramaniam said.
The expression ‘aggrivated sexual assault’ should be expanded to any action that violates human dignity, he said.
“Merely addressing the end stage of rape is not enough. You have to deal with the first steps that graduate into sexual assault,” Verma said said.
Provide a safe environment for women is a responsibility of the state and it should prevent the crimes against women, he said.