Crime against women in India

On 16 December 2012, Delhi experienced an incident of a ghastly gang rape and murder of a 23 year old student in a Delhi bus. The girl was a physiotherapy intern and was on her way back home with male friend. She was brutally gang raped by four men in the moving bus; her male friend was hit badly and fell unconscious. The two were then thrown out of the moving bus. The girl suffered for thirteen days and later died. This horrific incident led to widespread public outrage not only in Delhi but in whole of India.

The Government of India constituted a three member committee headed by Former Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice J.S. Verma on 23 December 2012 to recommend amendments to the criminal law for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The Justice Verma Committee submitted its report on 23 January 2013. The recommendations were made on laws relating to rape, sexual harassment, trafficking, sexual abuse of children, medical examination of victims, police, electoral and educational reforms.

The full text of the Justice Verma Committee Report is available here.

After the submission of the report by Justice J.S. Verma, the President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee in accordance with the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 123 of the Constitution of India promulgated the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 (No.3 of 2013), an ordinance to further amend the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

The ordinance is available here.

The ordinance deals with many of the issues identified by the Justice Verma Committee, one of which is the prosecution of sexual offences against women.

Under the direction of the Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir to the High Courts to coordinate with the respective State Governments to set up fast track courts for dealing with offences against the women, six fast track courts were set in Delhi in January 2013 to deal exclusively with cases of sexual offences against women.

 Uma Narayan