New Delhi: Suggestions of the Congress party on changing anti-rape laws were delivered past midnight to Justice J S Verma leading to party chief Sonia Gandhi tendering an apology to him for the odd timing.
Justice Verma also said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram were instrumental in forming the committee which gave far reaching recommendations favouring comprehensive amendments to criminal laws.
"Past mid-night, someone came to my residence, woke me up and wanted to hand over personally (the Congress party's suggestions). But somehow the Congress president came to know of it. She was very gracious and next day she rang me up personally and profusely apologised to my great embarrassment. I had to tell her do not do this," he told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate Programme.
Justice Verma headed the three-member committee which was constituted by the government in the wake of the December 16 gangrape incident to suggest amendments to anti-rape laws.
On January 23, the committee submitted its recommendations seeking minimum 20 years imprisonment for gangrape and life term for rape and murder but refrained from prescribing death penalty. It also suggested amendment of criminal laws to provide for higher punishment to rapists, including those belonging to police and public servants.
New offences have been created and stiffer punishment has been suggested for those committing rape and leaving the victim in a vegetative state. These include disrobing a woman, voyeurism, stalking and trafficking.
Justice Verma said he took the chairmanship of the committee after Chidambaram called him up at the behest of Prime Minister Singh and he had not talked to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde even once till now.