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Tripura clears stand on rape
- Govt advocates life term for accused, fast-tracking of trials

Agartala, Jan. 9: The Tripura government has advocated imprisonment for entire life for anyone convicted of rape, fast-tracking of trials of all rapes and other crimes against women and denial of bail to the accused during the trial period.

This was resolved in a meeting of the state cabinet last night to decide the state’s response to a set of queries sent by the three-member commission headed by retired Supreme Court Chief Justice J.S. Verma.

After the countrywide furore over the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl on December 16 in Delhi, the Centre constituted a three-member commission comprising Chief Justice J.S. Verma, former solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam and former Supreme Court Justice Leela Seth to look into incidents of crimes against women as well as make recommendations for curbing such crimes. The commission had sent queries to state governments for their views on the issue, especially penal provisions for rape.

“The state cabinet discussed the issue last night to decide the state government’s response to the queries; the matter was discussed at length and then it was decided that the trial in the Delhi rape case should be fast-tracked and speedily ended; besides, the cabinet felt that the extreme punishment for rape should be imprisonment for life,” said chief secretary S.K. Panda. He said the cabinet also decided that all trials of rape and related crimes against women should be fast-tracked and completed within a maximum period of three months and the accused should not be granted bail till the end of trial. “It is often seen that there is remission in life imprisonment but for crimes like rape there should be no remission; entire life should be spent in prison,” Panda said.

Apart from this, the state cabinet has proposed amendment of the juvenile act and reduction of the age from present 18 to 15.

“The cabinet has also proposed a crackdown on obscene advertisements involving women in the print and electronic media,” Panda said. He added that the state cabinet had proposed introduction of moral education at the school level and launching of an awareness campaign on the issue.