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CIMA Gallary

PM makes ‘prompt’ promise to Verma

New Delhi, Jan. 30: The Prime Minister has assured the Justice J.S Verma panel that the government would be “prompt” in pursuing its recommendations on tougher laws for rapists.

Home ministry sources said the government might also accept the panel’s suggestions and make “stalking” a new offence that should bring a one-year sentence. Currently “stalkers” are booked under harassment or eve teasing charges.

“On behalf of our government, I assure you that we will be prompt in pursuing the recommendations of the Committee,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Justice Verma today.

Sources said the government was convinced about the panel’s recommendations for stringent punishment, but without the death sentence, for rapists — ranging from not less than 20 years to imprisonment for the entire life.

“I am writing to thank you, Justice (Smt.) Leila Seth and Shri Gopal Subramanian for your labour of love in completing the work of the Committee our government had constituted to recommend amendments in Law to be able to deal effectively with cases of sexual assault of extreme nature against women,” the Prime Minister’s letter reads.

The other members of the Verma committee are former Himachal Pradesh chief justice Leila Seth and former solicitor-general Gopal Subramaniam.

The committee was set up on December 23 in the wake of the gang rape of a paramedical student in Delhi.

Home minister Sushil Shinde and home secretary R.K. Singh today met to finalise the government’s view on some of the recommendations. The view will be communicated to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, which will hold a detailed discussion on the Verma panel report on February 4.

The government, however, is unlikely to act in haste on the panel’s more contentious suggestion on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

The committee has recommended that immunity for the security forces under the AFSPA should be withdrawn if men in uniform commit sexual offences against women.