Ten key proposals made by Verma panel after Delhi gang rape

Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:21pm IST

Demonstrators shout slogans and raise their hands during a candlelight march for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Demonstrators shout slogans and raise their hands during a candlelight march for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi January 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Related Topics

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) - A panel set up in response to public outcry over the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman has delivered its report outlining recommendations on how to tackle gender violence in the largely patriarchal country.

The panel, headed by former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma, received over 80,000 responses from the public as well as women's rights groups, academics, gender experts and lawyers, compiling their suggestions into what commentators have described as a "path-breaking" and "progressive" report.

Here is a list of the 10 key recommendations put forward by the Verma Committee in its 630-page report:

1. MAKE VOYEURISM, STALKING AND INTENTIONAL TOUCHING AN OFFENCE

- Make voyeurism an offence punishable by a maximum jail term of three years - Make stalking an offence punishable by a maximum jail term of three years - Intentional touching, using obscene language or gestures should be treated as a sexual assault offence

2. AMEND RAPE LAWS

- Rape of a minor should carry a minimum jail term of 10 years - Gang rape should be defined in the Indian Penal Code and be punishable by at least 20 years imprisonment - Death caused by rape should carry a minimum penalty of 20 years in jail - Make marital rape a criminal offence

3. REVIEW SECURITY LAWS IN CONFLICT ZONES

- Due to the number of reports of sexual offences committed by the armed forces in India's conflict areas such as Kashmir and the North East, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) - a controversial law that gives sweeping powers to and often confers immunity on security forces - must be reviewed - Security forces must be brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law rather than under army law - Special commissioners for women's security must be deployed in all areas of conflict. Such commissioners will have powers to monitor and take action in all cases of sexual violence against women by armed personnel - Introduce "Breach of command responsibility" - making a senior officer of security forces or police liable to a jail term of at least seven years if his/her subordinate commits rape

4. MONITOR ILLEGAL, PATRIARCHAL VILLAGE COUNCILS

- Put in place measures to monitor illegal village councils known as "Khap Panchayats" that sanction so-called "honour killings" and impose oppressive diktats such as banning girls and women from using mobile phones, wearing western clothes or venturing out unaccompanied

5. REVIEW MEDICAL EXAMINATION OF RAPE VICTIMS

- Put in place medico-legal guidelines on how to perform a medical examination of a victim of sexual assault - Scrap the so-called "two-finger" test - an outdated practice that examines the laxity of the vagina to determine whether the victim is "habituated to sex"

6. POLICE REFORMS

- Institute a Police Complaints Authority at district level to look into complaints against police officers who do not register complaints of gender crimes. Police who fail to register complaints or abort an investigation should be punished. This will provide more police accountability, said the commission - All police stations should have CCTV to ensure proper procedures are being followed in handling, recording and filing complaints - Provide appropriate technical equipment and training to police to ensure the highest standards of investigation of forensic evidence for sexual assault crimes - Separate police investigating gender crimes from law and order police to ensure speedier investigation, better expertise and improved rapport with the public - Increase the number of female police on patrol and on duty in police stations so that women feel comfortable filing sexual assault complaints

7. ELECTORAL REFORMS

- Lawmakers who have been charged in a court of law with serious offences such as sexual offences or dowry crimes should be disqualified from contesting elections - Sitting parliamentarians with criminal cases against them, including those of rape and other types of sexual assault, should voluntarily vacate their seats - There should be a code of conduct for political parties, instituting transparency in receiving donations and declaring whether parties had sanctioned people to run for elections who have criminal records

8. GENDER SENSITISATION THROUGH EDUCATION

- The formal curriculum in Indian schools must be drastically revamped and sex education must be made an integral part of the curriculum

9. BILL OF RIGHTS

- India should institute a "Bill of Rights" for women, along the lines of similar bills in South Africa and New Zealand

- The bill would set out the rights guaranteed to women, which would include the right to life, security, bodily integrity, democratic and civil rights and equality

10. HUMAN TRAFFICKING

- Define the offence of trafficking in the Indian Penal Code - Trafficking should be punishable with a jail term of no less than seven years and may extend to life imprisonment - Employing a trafficked person, for example as a domestic servant, should carry a jail term of no less than three years.

-- TrustLaw is a global hub for free legal assistance and news and information on good governance and women's rights. For more TrustLaw stories, click www.trust.org/trustlaw

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
CommunalAward wrote:
Get real.
Caste system seeds hatred among people in India. It’s only going to get worse in the future.
What makes you think your parents/children/future generations/houses/properties are safe from sections of society whom you’ve abused for thousands of years?
“Two eyes for an eye begets justice.” –Kanshiram

Jan 29, 2013 7:29pm IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

RAINFALL THIS YEAR

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Election 2014

Election 2014

Thousands mob Modi as election race starts in Varanasi.  Full Article 

Monsoon Forecast

Monsoon Forecast

Met office rules out surplus monsoon in 2014.  Full Article 

Facebook's Performance

Facebook's Performance

Facebook Q1 revenue grows 72 percent on rising mobile ads.  Full Article 

Earnings Season

Earnings Season

Bharti Infratel Q4 net profit jumps 64 percent.  Full Article 

Solar Dispute

Solar Dispute

Green groups urge U.S. to drop solar trade case against India.  Full Article 

Oil Imports

Oil Imports

India to make May-July oil payments to Iran - sources.  Full Article 

Rice Exports

Rice Exports

India may cede top rice exporter spot under Southeast Asian price onslaught.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage