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Lawyers Hail Report on Women's Safety


World  (tags: abuse, culture, ethics, freedoms, law, politics, women, violence, world, society, safety, rights, asia )

JL
- 443 days ago - blogs.wsj.com
Lawyers and women's rights activists appeared delighted with a report released on Wednesday that recommended a slew of legal changes to improve women's safety in India.



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JL A. (269)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 4:25 pm
January 24, 2013, 9:01 AM IST

Lawyers Hail Report on Women’s Safety

By Aditi Malhotra and Tripti Lahiri

Adnan Abidi/Reuters
A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest outside a court in New Delhi, Jan. 21.

Lawyers and women’s rights activists appeared delighted with a report released on Wednesday that recommended a slew of legal changes to improve women’s safety in India.

The three-member committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, was set up by the home ministry in the wake of a brutal rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi last month.

The report recommended defining sexual assault in Indian law and creating new types of criminal offenses, including stalking, voyeurism and trafficking. It also made marital rape a crime and recommended that the government enact a “bill of rights” for women.

Naina Kapur, a lawyer known for her involvement in a landmark case that resulted in directives on handling workplace sexual harassment said she was impressed by the expansive nature of the report and the approach of the committee.

“No institution has been as receptive to the things we’ve had to say as this group,” said Ms. Kapur. “You have to be grateful for the landscape these people have covered.”

Albeena Shakil, a women’s rights activist, also complimented the panel for broadening its ambit and considering the overall position of women in India, rather than restricting itself to cases of aggravated sexual assault and enhancement of punishment.

Delhi High Court Lawyer Vrinda Grover, who spoke before the committee, said that the report was a “breakthrough as far as legal articulation” of the range of crimes against women was concerned.

Another lawyer, Seema Misra, who works with a women’s rights group in Uttar Pradesh, said she was particularly glad to see marital rape was finally recognized as a crime. “Ninety percent of our domestic abuse cases are cases of sexual abuse,” she said.

“This is what a lot of women have been asking for for many years,” said Ms. Misra, adding that women’s groups would now put pressure on the government to act on the committee’s recommendations.

But it’s not clear how soon that will happen or if there is the political will to turn these recommendations into law. The home minister has said only that there is “no time frame” for acting on the report.

The absence of several top government and law enforcement officials during a two-day public meeting towards the end of the committee’s tenure, drew caustic remarks from the panel and raised the concern that these recommendations could languish as many such previous reports have done.

“If this is a sign of things to come and the report is going to be put in cold storage by the government, then actual implementation seems problematic,” said Ms. Shakil, the activist.

Lawyers present on Wednesday said that the report provided a very clear road map, as many of the recommended changes could be incorporated into draft legislation to amend the penal code that is already with a committee in the upper house of parliament.

Ms. Grover said that the government should “completely” overhaul the draft legislation, working from the report, which includes proposed text for various sections of the penal code that the committee would like to see changed.
 

Mitchell D. (123)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 6:08 pm
Hope rises!
 

JL A. (269)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 6:39 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Mitchell because you have done so within the last week.
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 7:42 pm

Good for India - finally.
 

JL A. (269)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 7:53 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.
 

John B. (215)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 8:33 pm
Thanks J.L. for posting this good news. kudos to former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma and his committee. Now if the Government of India will act quickly on the recommendations this may just be the game changer women in India need. Read and noted.
 

JL A. (269)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 8:38 pm
You are welcome John. It is good news and I share your hopes for India.You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last week.
 

Marianne B. (114)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 8:45 pm
A little too late for some.......
 

JL A. (269)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 8:47 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Marianne because you have done so within the last week.
 

Shanti S. (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:03 am
Hope the government acts on the recommendations.
 

JL A. (269)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:04 am
You cannot currently send a star to Shanti because you have done so within the last week.
 

Ro H. (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 11:43 am
ty
 

JL A. (269)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 1:45 pm
You are welcome Ro
 

Dianna M. (12)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 1:59 pm
Sounds like they're redefining rape in India--in FAVOR of the victim. In your FACE, Paul Ryan!
 

JL A. (269)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 2:40 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Dianna because you have done so within the last week.
 

. (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:23 pm
Great news!!!! This should have been done long ago.
 

JL A. (269)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:48 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Hugh because you have done so within the last week.
 
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