Govt. hopes to pass anti-rape law in current session of Parliament

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 09, 2013 14:00 hrs

Union Law and Justice Minister Ashwani Kumar on Saturday said the government is hoping to pass the amended anti-rape law in the current session of Parliament before the earlier passed ordinance lapses.

Talking to the media in Mumbai, Kumar said that the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 is expected to be passed in the Parliament by next week before the ordinance that was passed three weeks ago does not lapses.

"We propose to bring the bill for discussion in both houses of the Parliament at the soonest. And we will certainly hope that it is translated into law before March 22 when the ordinance is set to lapse. A lot of work has gone into the formulation of the new bill," said Kumar.

"You would kindly appreciate that lawmaking has to be a deliberative and thoughtful exercise. Because criminal laws in particular are intended to subserve the cause over several decades of generations. And there cannot be lawmaking by fiat or by needless reactions," he added.

Commenting on the provisions of the new bill, Kumar gave forth the reasons as to why marital rape has not been included as a crime in it.

"Marital rape has not been included in the proposed bill to start with, for the simple reason that there is an extremely sharp and strong view, even among women organisations on the desirability of including marital rape. And therefore the standing committee also has recommended against its inclusion. Therefore, we are not including marital rape as one of the offences," said Kumar.

"But ultimately, the contours and the parameters of the new law will emerge after a wholesome debate in both houses of the parliament. And whatever parliament will decide will become the law," he added.

The Law Minister also gave forth the reasons as to why the bill was women-oriented and not gender neutral as was demanded by some sections.

"Gender neutrality formulations were not considered feasible for a variety of reasons. A, impossibility of proof on the other side. B, there was an issue that women organisations felt very strongly that men could use a counter blast to defeat their general complaints. That was another reason. The third reason was that you can't have laws distort their historical context," said Kumar.

"When the historical context has been that in a large number of cases, even in being all number of cases, with some exceptions apart of course, women have been the victims of rape. And then therefore after considering all the representations and the totality it was considered," he added. (ANI)

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