Justice Verma Committee was constituted to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The Committee submitted its report on January 23, 2013.
Background: On December 23, 2012 a three member Committee headed by Justice J.S. Verma, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was constituted to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The other members on the Committee were Justice Leila Seth, former judge of the High Court and Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor General of India.
The Committee submitted its report on January 23, 2013. It made recommendations on laws related to rape, sexual harassment, trafficking, child sexual abuse, medical examination of victims, police, electoral and educational reforms. We summarise the key recommendations of the Committee.
Violence towards women prevents equality and hinders the personal security and dignity of individuals, contradicting Articles 1, 2, and 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A governments' inability to protect the rights of half its citizens also hinders the state's economic growth. This issue has come to the forefront of international discussion as current events, namely the brutal attack on Ms. Y, a young physiotherapy student on a New Delhi bus, have focused the world's gaze to the severe issue of gender violence in India.
In Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found, inter alia, that the United States violated a woman's right to equality and non-discrimination under Article II of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.' The Commission found that the existing legal framework in the United States does not meet international human rights standards, particularly with regard to women from minority and low-income groups. It stressed that international law requires states to act with "due diligence" to protect women from domestic violence. Moreover, the Commission recognized that because domestic violence is one of the most pervasive and pernicious forms of gender-based violence, states should adopt special measures to protect at-risk groups, including young women. It urged the United States to enact laws to make the enforcement of protective orders mandatory and "to create effective implementation mechanisms . . . accompanied by adequate resources destined to foster their implementation" and "training programs" for law enforcement and judicial officials.
This report tracks the progress made by women in South Asia in areas such as violence against women, and economic empowerment. This was the base document for the Seventh South Asia Regional Ministerial Conference in October 2010.
The word rape is Latin term ratio, which means seize i.e. forcible seizure which constitutes the main ingredient of the offence of rape. Law of rape in India however further widens the definition and means intercourse with a woman without her consent by force, fear or fraud. Several explanations of force fear and fraud has been incorporated to make the law of rape in India more comprehensive and stringent. Law of rape in India is contained in Indian Penal Code; Section 375 defines rape which can be reproduced as under:
"Harmful practices against women in India: An examination of selected legislative responses"
Violence against women, of which harmful practices against women is a part, has been acknowledged as “one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men” equality rights. Women face violence due to their position of inequality; their vulnerability to violence being exacerbated due to their positions of dependency as well as prevailing patriarchal attitudes. The Indian Constitution guarantees women equality before the law and the equal protection of laws under Article 14 and prohibits discrimination on grounds of sex under Article 15. A unique feature of the Indian Constitution is Article 15(3), which empowers the State to take special measures for women and children. Despite these guarantees, the position of women in India remains unequal.
Media coverage of trafficking of women and children, migration and sex work is confused and inaccurate. Media wrongly uses the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘trafficking’ synonymously, perpetuating stereotypes and stigmatisation and contributing to the violation of women’s right to free movement and livelihood options, say these authors. If media reports were to be believed, there would be no young girls left in Nepal. Oftquoted figures such as 5,000-7,000 Nepali girls being trafficked across the border to India every year and 150,000-200,000 Nepali women and girls being trapped in brothels in various Indian cities, were first disseminated in 1986 and have remained unaltered over the next two decades. The report that first quoted these statistics was written by Dr I S Gilada of the Indian Health Association, Mumbai, and presented in a workshop in 1986. Subsequently, a version of this report was published as an article in the Times of India on January 2, 1989. The source of this figure remains a mystery to date. Unfortunately, such a lack of clarity is more the norm than the exception when it comes to reporting on trafficking in women and girls.