Minister favours death penalty in Delhi gang-rape case

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 04, 2013 10:50 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath Friday said she was in favour of capital punishment for the Delhi gang-rape accused.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the conference of directors general of police and chief secretaries of states on measures to curb crimes against women and atrocities against the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs), Tirath said she had received various suggestions on the form of punishment in cases of assault on women during a consultative committee meeting.

Tirath said the Dec 16 gang-rape was a rarest of rare cases and the attackers should be given capital punishment.

Asked if death penalty should be awarded in other cases too, she said courts would decide that on the evidence available.

Tirath said she also favoured amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act to provide for death penalty in rarest of rare cases.

One of the accused in the Delhi gang-rape case has claimed himself to be a minor based on school certificate.

She said fast track courts should be set up to try cases of crime against women.

In her speech, Tirath said incidents of teasing should not be seen as normal behaviour and necessary changes should be made in the criminal law amendment bill.

She said there was an opinion that death penalty could reduce conviction rate in rape cases and chemical castration was not a practical option.

Judiciary should send a message to society that "they are standing for the rights of women," Tirath said.

The minister called for codification of the process of registration of first information reports and treatment protocol of rape victims.

She said her ministry had initiated a tool on the domestic violence act which would provide guidelines for better law enforcement.

The minister said gender sensitisation should be part of curriculum and there should be compulsory training to all public functionaries with refresher courses.

"It should be linked to promotion and ACRs (annual confidential reports)," she said.

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Kumari Selja said atrocities against the SCs and STs continue to take place and there were instances of untouchability being practiced.

She said laws for providing protection to the SCs and STs should be amended since the rate of conviction for crimes against these roups was low.

The minister said women were the most vulnerable section in any community and called for sensitisation of the administrative machinery.

"(We) need to understand the winds that are blowing and make administration more responsive."

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