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Shillong NGO demands life for rapists
- CSWO submits proposals to three-member commission of inquiry

Shillong, Jan. 2: Amid demands for death penalty and chemical castration against rapists, a women’s organisation here has suggested that “life imprisonment” for the perpetrators of rape would trim down the rise of such crimes.

The Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO), led by Agnes Kharshiing, made the proposal to the three-member commission of inquiry headed by former Chief Justice J.S. Verma, which will suggest ways for improving safety and security of women, besides looking into the Delhi gang rape incident.

The organisation today submitted a 14-point charter of suggestions to the commission.

“The rise in this crime (rape) is because there are no stringent laws and no stringent punishment to protect and assure the women and children facing the heinous crime. Therefore, it would surely lessen the rise of such crimes if the punishment was life sentence for a rape accused when found guilty of the offence,” the organisation said.

It also strongly suggested that all rape cases be transferred to fast track courts.

If the accused is not found guilty, the case may immediately be transferred to the higher courts for their verdict before it is decided that it was not a rape case, and the costs for the victim be borne by the government.

The organisation further suggested that states that did not have proper facilities for forensic science laboratory examinations should be held “equally responsible” for the rise in rape cases.

“Such states should be made to pay fines to the tune of Rs 10 lakh to the victim for delay in forensic science laboratory reports,” the women’s group said, adding that the suggestions were made on the basis of factual occurrences.

Apart from the former Chief Justice, the Centre had also appointed Justice Lalita Seth and former solicitor-general Gopal Subramaniam as members of the commission.

The commission was constituted on December 23, 2012, following the uproar against the Delhi gang rape incident.

Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had said the commission would suggest ways to make stricter rape laws, and that its report would have to be submitted within 30 days.

The commission has asked members of the public, legal experts, NGOs, women’s organisations and others to send in their suggestions and comments by Saturday. ( )