24 January 2013

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Know Important 78 Facts Suggestions given by Justice JS Verma in a report amendment of criminal law

Know Important 78 Facts  Suggestions given by Justice JS Verma in  a report amendment of criminal law Crimes against women

The three-member Committee headed by former Chief Justice J S Verma submitted its 630-page report to the government suggesting amendment of criminal laws to provide for higher punishment to rapists, including those belonging to police and public servants.

The commission completed its review of existing laws and prepared its report within a tough 30-day deadline.
He said he received 80,000 suggestions from India and abroad.

The panel  was constituted after the Delhi gang rape case of Amanat or Damini or candle light.

Following are the suggestions , recommended amendments  suggested by JS Varma Committee Report in Amendments to criminal law.

Committee was constituted by GOI Notification No. SO (3003)E, dated
December 23, 2012 to look into possible amendments of the Criminal Law to provide
for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals committing sexual assault
of extreme nature against women. In view of the significance and urgency of the
task, the Committee undertook to perform it within 30 days, which task has been

The urgency of the matter impelled the Committee to undertake the performance of the assigned task within the short period of 30 days to enable the authorities,  with  all  their  resources,  to  take  the necessary follow up action within a further 30-day period, so that the same or a substantial portion of the same may be completed before commencement of the next session of the Parliament, which, we hope,  will  undertake  the  needed  legislative exercise recommended by this Committee.

Failure  of  good  governance  is  the  obvious  root cause for the current unsafe environment eroding the  rule  of  law,  and  not  the  want  of  needed legislation. If there was a felt need for more laws, there are many recommendations of expert bodies and judicial decisions that remain unimplemented. The Law Commission’s 84th Report in 1980 and its 172nd Report of 2000 relating to this subject, the National  Police  Commission  Reports recommending  autonomy  and  seminal improvement  in  the  quality  of  the  police  force, which  is  the  principal  machinery  for  the maintenance of law and order, continue to gather dust  for  decades  due  to  the  apathy  of  all  the political  dispensations.  The  Supreme  Court’s judgment  of  2006  in  Prakash  Singh’s  case  giving certain directions for the autonomy and improving the  quality  of  the  police  force  remain  to  be implemented  by  all  the  governments.  Action  in this  behalf  does  not  brook  any  further  delay,  if there is a genuine desire to honour the purpose of
constituting this Committee.

The National Human Rights Commission has also held the government accountable and responsible for  the  violation  of  human  rights  within  its jurisdiction, observing:

“…it is the primary and inescapable responsibility of the State to protect the right to life, liberty,
equality and dignity of all of those who constitute it. It is also the responsibility of the State to ensure that such rights are not violated either through overt acts, or through abetment or negligence. It is a clear and emerging principle of human rights jurisprudence that the State is responsible not only for the acts of its own agents, but also for the acts of non-State  players  acting  within  its  jurisdiction.The  State  is,  in  addition,  responsible  for  any inaction that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights.

It is shocking to note that even after the recent horrific  incident  of  gang  rape,  many  political
leaders,  including  members  of  Parliament/State legislatures, spiritual gurus with large followings and  other  eminent  persons  have  been  making statements reinforcing the gender bias. Some have even blamed the victim for having facilitated the rape by her own behaviour. Some of the worst examples are:

(i)  Shri Anisur Rahman (Communist Party of India  (Marxist)  –  West  Bengal):  "We have
told the chief minister in the assembly that the government will pay money to compensate rape
victims. What is your fee? If you are raped, what will be your fee?"

(ii)  Shri Asaram Bapu: "Only 5-6 people are not the  culprits.  The  victim  is  as  guilty  as  her
rapists...  She  should  have  called  the  culprits brothers and begged before them to stop... This
could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don't think so,"

(iii)  Shri  Om  Prakash  Chautala  (INLD  – Haryana): "We should learn from the past...
specially in Mughal era, people used to marry their girls to save them from Mughal atrocities
and currently a similar situation is arising in the state. I think that's the reason khap has taken
such a decision and I support it."

(iv)  Shri Sri Prakash Jaiswal (Congress): “New victory  and  a  new  marriage  have  their  own
significance. The memory of your victory fades with time, the same way one’s wife becomes old
and loses her charm”
Many  of  them  have  reflected  this  gender  bias contrary  to  the  constitutional  mandate  after
swearing ‘to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution  of  India’,  in  addition  to  their
fundamental  duty  ‘to  abide  by  the  Constitution and  respect  its  ideals’.

This begs the question - does the Indian State live at two levels?  One which comprises those who are affluent and who have access to the Constitution and its machinery, and the other comprising those who live in the silent domination of the superior will of tradition, customs and practices which are derogatory to women?

These  indeed  compel  us  to  admit  to  only  one answer that whatever be the political orientation, the Indian State has failed to look at this issue in a substantive manner.  While we acknowledge and greatly  applaud  the  concerns  of  feminists  and various persons who have spoken in support of women,  we  still  feel  distressed  to  say  that  all organs of the State have, in varying degrees, failed to  fulfil  the  promise  of  equality  in  favour  of women.  We also notice that the high instances of female  foeticide  and  infanticide,  poor  maternity and child care, women’s diseases turning chronic, women  being  subjected  to  malnutrition,  are
outrageous stains on a free India.  They disclose the inbuilt  subconscious bias of those who rule
against  women.    The  Committee  would  like  to remind  the  State  that  gender  equality  and
safeguarding  of  human  rights  is  a  Millennium Development  Goal  (to  be  achieved  by  the  year 2015)  under  the  United  Nations  Millennium Declaration.

Despite  the  well-known  Bhanwari  Devi  case, which  led  to  the  Vishakha  judgment,  full  justice continues to elude the victim of sexual harassment and  sexual  assault  even  after  two  decades.  The most appalling feature of the case is that the trial court  acquitted  the  accused  observing  that  the rapists were middle-aged and respectable persons of a higher caste who could not have raped a lower caste woman. The mindset of the judiciary also needs to be improved by their education in gender sensitivity.  The  women’s  tragedy  is  to  face  the compounding  of  gender  and  social  injustice contrary to the constitutional promise to   ‘secure a social order in which justice, social, economic and political,  shall  inform  all  the  institutions  of national  life’,  and  the  State’s  obligation  ‘to eliminate  inequalities  in  status,  facilities  and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people’

We must note that the Constitution is a pledge of the  State.    The  State  is  responsible  to  live  and administer the Constitution.  As far as the rights of women are concerned, in our opinion, the State has failed to fulfil its tryst and pledge with the Constitution to create both, atmospheric climatic and  ground  conditions  for  their  welfare  and benefit.

We regret to state that there have been cases where the police has viewed vulnerability of the victims as a corresponding additive to its own strength of control.  We  are  afraid  the  violation  of  human rights  pertaining  to  ‘rape  cases’  including permission  of  rape,  distorting  investigation  in rape,  pre-conceived  notions  of  ‘honour,’  certain regressive court judgment (in some cases, we are told, that the rapist made a magnanimous offer to marry  the  girl)  are  extraordinarily  telling euphemisms  of  misplaced  morality.  Thus, complaints  of  rape  become  mere  matters  of formality  -  low  on  priority  because  there  is  no understanding of the acuteness of the violation of human  rights  in  respect  of  a  woman  by  sexual assault  and  the  psychological  trauma  she undergoes.  This is compounded by vulnerabilities emanating  from  class/caste/community disadvantages and also that of poverty.  This has led to a subculture of oppression and we are afraid that unless and until this is addressed not just in high  sounding  economic  terms  but  in  terms  of concrete  legislation,  accountability,  assertion  of rights, guarantees of education and above all to secure  spaces,  India’s  constitutional  claim  to
republicanism  remains  overstated.
India was one of the 48 countries which voted in favour of the adoption of the UDHR by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th December 1948.  The  UDHR  is  not  a  treaty  in  itself  but  defines ‘fundamental freedoms’ and ‘human rights’ for the purposes  of  the  UN  Charter.  The  UDHR  is generally  agreed  to  be  the  foundation  of international human rights law as it inspired the numerous  human  rights  conventions  which followed including the ICCPR and ICESCR.

under Canadian law, the accused cannot argue  that  there  was  belief  in  consent  if  the
accused did not take reasonable steps to ascertain that  there  was  consent  to  the  specific  sexual activity.  It  is  not  enough  that  the  accused subjectively believed there was consent. He must also demonstrate that he took reasonable steps to ascertain it.

We  do  notice  that  this  concept  of  shame  has somehow led the police to have an upper hand.
The police have become arbiters of honour.  The police, without registering even a FIR, assume that they have the moral capacity to pronounce upon the rights and wrongs of the rapist as well as the rape victim.  This is simply deplorable and it is inconceivable  in  a  modern  society,  which  is governed by republican values.  We think that it is necessary for the police officers to be completely sensitised against the honour-shame theory, and to treat every woman complainant as an individual in  her  own  right  capable  of  asserting  her grievance.  In other words, we feel that an indirect validation  of  police  inaction  in  rape  crimes  has taken  place  as  a  result  of   a)  amorphous attribution of women’s position in Indian society;
b)  the  theory  of  shame-honour;
c)  the policeman,  ‘being  the  male’  in  a  ‘patriarchal society, ought to be ‘the moral judge’.   It not only skews the justice delivery system at the stage of lodging  the  complaint,  but  it  has  a  strongly debilitating effect resulting in direct violation of fundamental  human  freedoms  and  rights  under the  Constitution  and  the  various  international instruments. 

we feel that the Criminal Law Amendment Bill,  2012  has  provisions  that  are  somewhat
protective of the right of safety of women, we feel that the said Bill is far from complete. It needs a series of revisions

We  are  indeed  shocked  to  note  that notwithstanding  the  fact  that  these  Law
Commission Reports were made decades ago, very little  attention  has  been  paid  to  the
implementation  of  these  recommendations.    We also note that the National Legal Vision Document (drafted by one of us) in fact wanted a separate office  of  the  Attorney  General  and  Solicitor General to be established which would study the implementation of recommendations of the Law Commission.    This,  unfortunately,  has  also  not been carried out.

What  is  most  surprising  is  that  Parliament  has ignored the recommendation of the 84th Report,
which  calls  for  the  punishment  of  a  station-in-charge  who  fails  to  register  information  of  a cognisable offence given to him. In this respect the 84th Report recommended as follows:

“X. Non-recording of information relating to cognizable offences

3.29. Section 167-A IPC—Refusal to register case of rape.—We now come to another matter concerning the stage of investigation. During our oral discussions with the representatives of women's organisations, it was stated that in some cases the police fail to register a case
of rape reported to them even when the full facts are communicated to them. We have not been able to gather statistics of the number of such cases, as the collection of the relevant figures would take considerable time and the present Report deals with a matter of urgency. We
hope that the percentage of such cases would not be high.  Nevertheless,  we  do  take  the  view  that  in principle, the law should contain a specific provision dealing with refusal (or failure without sufficient cause) to register such cases. The offence of rape is a cognizable
offence and if the police fail to register it, it is a clear violation  of  the  provisions  of  the  Code  of  Criminal Procedure,  1973  in  this  regard.  Cognizable  offences reported to the police are “registered”—as the popular usage goes—under S. 154(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If the officer in charge of a police station refuses to record the information reported relating to a
cognizable offence, there is a remedy already provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure, the relevant provision being in the following terms:

“(3) Any person aggrieved by a refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to
record the information referred to in sub-s. (1) [of  S.  154]  may  send  the  substance  of  such
information,  in  writing  and  by  post,  to  the Superintendent  of  Police  concerned  who,  if
satisfied  that  such  information  discloses  the commission of a cognizable offence, shall either
investigate  the  case  himself  or  direct  an investigation to be made by any police officer
subordinate to him, in the manner provided by this Code and such officer shall have all the
powers  of  an  officer  in  charge  of  the  police station in relation to that offence.”

3.32. Insertion of Section 167-A, Indian Penal Code recommended.—Having regard to what we have stated above, we would recommend the insertion of a specific penal provision, say, as S. 167-A, in the Indian Penal Code on the subject. In view of the general scheme adopted in that Code, the proposed provision would not be confined to refusal to register the offence of rape and
would  cover  other  cognizable  offences  as  well.  The following is a rough draft of the provision that we recommend:

“167-A.—Whoever,  being  an  officer-in-charge  of  a police  station  and  required  by  law  to  record  any information relating to the commission of a cognisable offence reported to him, refuses or without reasonable cause fails to record such information shall be punished with  imprisonment  of  either  description  for  a  term

We find that the same is true in Canada, South Africa and Australia. In Canada, the provisions in
the Criminal Code, which denied criminal liability for marital rape, were repealed in 1983.87 It is now a crime in Canada for a husband to rape his wife. South  Africa  criminalised  marital  rape  in  1993, reversing  the  common  law  principle  that  a husband could not be found guilty of raping his wife.

Even when marital rape is recognised as a crime, there is a risk that judges might regard marital
rape  as  less  serious  than  other  forms  of  rape, requiring more lenient sentences, as happened in South  Africa.93  In  response,  the  South  African Criminal  Law  (Sentencing)  Act  of  2007  now provides that the relationship between the victim and  the  accused  may  not  be  regarded  as  a ‘substantial  and  compelling  circumstance’ justifying a deviation from legislatively required minimum sentences for rape.

We, therefore, recommend that:
i.  The exception for marital rape be removed.
ii.  The law ought to specify that:
a.   A marital or other relationship between the perpetrator or victim is not a valid defence
against  the  crimes  of  rape  or  sexual violation;
b.  The relationship between the accused and the  complainant  is  not  relevant  to  the
inquiry  into  whether  the  complainant consented to the sexual activity;
c.  The  fact  that  the  accused  and  victim  are married or in another intimate relationship
may not be regarded as a mitigating factor justifying lower sentences for rape.

Retired Judges of the Supreme Court, High Court and the District Courts could be appointed as ad-hoc judges to expeditiously dispose pending cases; 

Parliament should consider equalisation of age of retirement of the subordinate judiciary, the High Court and the Supreme Court so that manpower will be immediately available;

Adjournment should not be allowed as a matter of course  in  respect  of  cases  specially  fixed  for hearing before the ad-hoc courts, or even before regular courts.

Public  prosecutors  should  be  appointed  on  the basis  of  merit  in  accordance  with  the
recommendations made by the Chief Justice of the High Court and not on the basis of any political considerations. 

Cases of rape and sexual assault should be tried by women prosecutors, and, to the extent possible, by women  judges.  In  any  event,  all  judges  of  the subordinate and higher judiciary should receive training in gender sensitivity.

We  would  also  like  to  refer  to  the  decision  in Nilabati Behera v, State of Orissa & Others98.  This was an important pronouncement to ensure that an enforceable right of compensation was also a part  of  the  enforcement  of  guaranteed  rights.
Thus, what can happen in respect of an offence like rape is that there could be not only an offence as  defined  in  the  IPC  but  simultaneously  there would be a constitutional violation of Articles 14, 14, 19 and 21 and which would also enable the victim to claim right to compensation.  We are of the view that a right to claim compensation will lie against the State in the event the State is unable to secure safe conditions / safe spaces for women.  It is under these circumstances that the norms and guidelines were actually prescribed in Vishakha by the Supreme Court.

The Committee is of the view that conciliation  in  cases  of  sexual  harassment  is
antithetical to the intended result, inasmuch as the concept of conciliation pre-supposes the existence of a valid complaint. If in fact a false complaint is made or one which is incapable of proof, there will be no need for a conciliation. Alternatively, since conciliation arises at a time prior to action being taken on a complaint it may be used as an effective tool  to  muzzle  the  Tribunal’s  primary  duty  of investigating  and  prosecuting  cases  of  sexual harassment  so  as  to  lend  sufficient  teeth  to  the legislation.  If a valid complaint is made, then the consequences  that  ensue  must  only  be  those mandated  by  the  proposed  legislation.  We  are further of the view that the complainant shall not be permitted to withdraw a complaint once made so as to ensure that all cases of sexual harassment are properly dealt with under the law of the land.
We apprehend that permitting either mandatory conciliation,  even  if  at  the  instance  of  the
complainant,  or  permitting  the  complainant  to withdraw her complaint will negatively impact the ability of women to bring valid complaints before the Tribunal. It cannot be gainsaid that the myriad pressurizing influences that are brought to bear upon women in our society may act to disable her from pursuing a valid complaint.

All the State Governments and Union Territories are  directed  to  depute  plain  clothed  female  police officers  in  the  precincts  of  bus-stands  and  stops, railway  stations,  metro  stations,  cinema  theatres, shopping  malls,  parks,  beaches,  public  service vehicles, places of worship etc. so as to monitor and supervise incidents of eve-teasing.

There  will  be  a  further  direction  to  the  State Government and Union Territories to install CCTV in  strategic  positions  which  itself  would  be  a deterrent  and  if  detected,  the  offender  could  be caught.

State  Governments  and  Union  Territories  are directed  to  establish  Women’  Helpline  in  various cities and towns, so as to curb eve-teasing within three months.

Sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel must
be  brought  under  the  purview  of  ordinary criminal law;
Special care must also be taken to ensure the safety  of  women  who  are  complainants  and
witnesses in cases of sexual assault by armed personnel; 

There should be special commissioners – who are either judicially or legislatively appointed –
for women’s safety and security in all areas of conflict in the country.  These commissioners
must  be  chosen  from  those  who  have experience with women’s issues, preferably in
conflict areas.  In addition, such commissioners must  be  vested  with  adequate  powers  to
monitor  and  initiate  action  for  redress  and criminal  prosecution  in  all  cases  of  sexual
violence against women by armed personnel;

Care must be taken to ensure the safety and security of women detainees in police stations,
and  women  at  army  or  paramilitary  check points, and this should be a subject under the
regular  monitoring  of  the  special commissioners mentioned earlier;

We  have  also  seen  correspondence  between  the Delhi  Police  and  the  Director,  Department  of Women and Child Development, Government of NCT of Delhi, wherein the Delhi Police has sought the following information:
“How many cases of rape and other crimes against women have been reported in the NCT wherein one or more of the accused person(s) are staff of protective homes for women, or where the offence has taken place within the premises of a protective home for women for the period 01.01.2007 to 31.12.2012.  Data in respect of each such crime be provided separately.”

We find that no reply has been made available by the Delhi Government.  

When one looks at the ‘efforts’ undertaken by the executive,  we  have  examined  the  Delhi  Police’s ‘Zipnet’ website which was set up in 2004 to act as a  country-wide  database  for,  inter  alia,  missing women  and  children.  When  Zipnet  was established, its objective was to have a nation-wide network  /  database  by  2012  –  i.e.,  all  police stations in the country would be connected.  This has, sadly, not been achieved.

The manner in which the Juvenile Justice Act has been implemented shows a complete failure of the State.

In  schools  teachers  should  promote  group interactive practices so that the idea of a male child
having masculinity and which necessarily implies an  implied  repudiation  of  feminity  or  sensitivity must  is  discouraged.    The  attempt  of  education should be to liberate children from social constructs and  not  to  reinforce  them;  and  thrust  has  to  be inculcation  of  respect  for  other  person  especially that of the other gender.

We, therefore, think that one of the ideas of gender roles which is firmly embedded in the psyche of the Indian  male  needs  to  be  now  psychologically reconstructed  on  rational  lines  in  the  context  of relationship  with  society  and  with  women  and particularly respect and equality towards women.  We,  therefore,  suggest  that  there  must  be  an improvisation in the school curriculum which must involve  the  subject  of  what  are  called  as  “Social Science-  Practical  Applications”,  and  in  fact,  the curriculum must be modified to include a flavor of the afore-stated approach in each of the subjects

We are clearly of the opinion that the removal of stigma from rape is the first necessary step.  We are unable to appreciate the view that the survivor of rape  is  a  ‘zinda  laash’  (a  living  corpse).  Such comments are unfortunate and are antithetical to the construct of a progressive society.

There is an urgent need to audit the performance of all institutions of governance and law and order. It is indeed necessary that we must now have external social audit for the sake of transparency.

We    recommend  that  in  the  proposed Criminal  Law  Amendment  Bill,  2012,  the
minimum sentence should be enhanced to 10 years with  a  maximum  punishment  being  life

We recommend a legislative clarification that  life  imprisonment  must  always  mean
imprisonment  for  ‘the  entire  natural  life  of  the convict’

We  note  that  it  would  be  unconstitutional  and inconsistent with basic human rights treaties for the  State  to  expose  any  citizen  without  their consent  to  potentially  dangerous  medical  side effects.    For  this  reason  we  do  not  recommend mandatory chemical castration of any type as a punishment for sex offenders. For the same reason the government of India also does not prescribe chemical castration as a family planning method

We,    reject  the  possibility  of  chemical castration as a means of punishment.  We must take on record a suggestion from a leading doctor for permanent surgical castration.  We think that a mutilation  of  the  body  is  not  permitted  by  the Constitution.  ‘Death’ is a known form of penalty but  mutilation  has  not  been  recognised  in progressive jurisprudence as prescribed punitive action.

Assuming that a person at the age of 16 is sent to life  imprisonment,  he  would  be  released
sometimes in the mid-30s.  There is little assurance that the convict would emerge a reformed person, who will not commit the same crime that he was imprisoned  for  (or,  for  that  matter,  any  other crime).  The attempt made by Ms. Kiran Bedi to reform Tihar Jail inmates was, and continues to be, a successful experiment.  But we are afraid that that is only a flash in the pan.  Our jails do not have reformatory and rehabilitation policies.  We do not engage with inmates as human beings.  We do not bring about transformation.  We, therefore, breed more criminals including juveniles) in our prison and reformatory system by ghettoing them in  juvenile  homes  and  protective  homes  where they  are  told  that  the  State  will  protect  and provide for them, but which promise is a fruitless one.

It is time that the State invested in reformation for juvenile offenders and destitute juveniles.  There are  numerous  jurisdictions  like  the  United Kingdom,  Thailand,  and  South  Africa  where children  are  corrected  and  rehabilitated; restorative justice is done and abuse is prevented.  We think this is possible in India but it requires a determination of a higher order.

We  are  of  the  view  that  the  material  before  is sufficient for us to reach the conclusion that the age of ‘juveniles’ ought not to be reduced to 16 years

As a fundamental requirement, we strongly opine that  the  State  should  undertake  the  task  of
providing well lit roads, streets and other common spaces to the citizens.

It  has  been  borne  out  from  recommendations received by us that in rural India, lack of proper
sanitation  facilities  also  contribute  to  the commission of sexual crimes against women. At
night women have to get out of their houses to use sanitation facilities and these moments are abused by anti-social elements. We opine that the issue of provision  of  adequate  sanitation  facilities  in villages  and  urban  areas  has  to  be  considered urgently.

Committee is shocked to note the large number of directions issued by
various High Court and the Apex Court in this regard, which are not being complied with by the
Central  Government  and  various  State     Governments.

Despite the fact that all concerned authorities including the police, admit the use of
such black filmed vehicles in propagation of major crimes but still they are not able to prevent their user  despite  the  fact  that  it  also  offends  the provisions  of  the  Motor  Vehicles  Act,  1988

A cursory glance on any of India’s roads at any time of day or night will show that these directions of the Supreme Court are being openly flouted by all and sundry.  It saddens the Committee to note that the police forces of this country enforce these directions, and indeed law, only when orders are passed  by  various  courts,  and  then  again,  only take action for a few days.

What is even more shocking is the incapability of the Government of India and of the various State Governments to implement even the most basic safety measures

the  Executive  of  this country is fully aware of the bare minimum steps
that are required to ensure the safety of women, and has been aware of the same, as will be seen
elsewhere  in  this  Report,  for  several  years.  Yet, despite  numerous  recommendations,
deliberations,  consultations,  studies,  directions from  the  judiciary  and,  most  importantly,  the protests of civil society, the State continues to fall woefully short of ensuring the safety of women in this country.

The Committee is of the opinion that in respect of all public transport vehicles which move after 5.30 pm  until  7.30  am,  every  transport vehicle  must have a security person.

Whether it be rural or metropolitan area, the  public  transport  vehicles  must  be
adequately increased and it is the function of  the  State  to  make  sure  that  there  is
adequate  means  of  transport  which  will increase the level of security in respect of
women  both  during  the  day  as  well  as night

We are of the view that every State Government must have a computerised database
which would have details of –
a.  All the vehicles;

b.  Their  real  owners  (as  against  benami

c.   It will be mandatory for the bus owners (or State  Road  Transport  Corporations)  to
display, in good light, the bus numbers as well as the name, age and address of the
drivers along with their photographs and contact  numbers.    It should  be  displayed
within the bus and should always be visible on the outside of the bus as well;

d.  In all metropolitan towns, CCTV cameras should  be  installed  inside  each  bus.  The
CCTV has to be installed in a tamper-proof condition  and  it  will  be  the  duty  of  the
constable  (woman  or  male)  who  is travelling  in  the  bus  to  ensure  that  the
CCTV is not tampered with;

e.  In addition, all buses should be fitted with tamper  proof  GPS  systems.  In  respect  of
new  buses,  proposals  should  be  made  to engine/chassis manufacturers to build such
GPS  tracking  system  into  the engine/chassis  before  delivery  to  the customer;

It  is  necessary  to  have  simple  hotline numbers  which  can  be  dialled  by
passengers  when  need  arises.  We  also propose  that  downloadable  mobile  phone
applications  may  be  developed  so  that citizens can, with one click or touch, send
distress  signals  to  the  police.  Technology may also be developed so as to track the
signals  or  messages  sent

We further express our distress that the State has turned a blind eye to poor and destitute women,
and women who are victims of domestic violence and  who  are  unable  to  provide  shelter  for
themselves.  This fundamental lack of empathy, understanding and engagement reflects poorly on the  State,  which  has  the  constitutional responsibility to provide for those who lack access
to justice.

The issue of whether sexual assault occurred is a legal  issue  and  not  a  medical  diagnosis.
Consequently, doctors should not, on the basis of the medical examination conclude whether rape had occurred or not.  Only findings in relation to medical  findings  should  be  recorded  in  the medical report.

It  is  crucial  to  underscore  that  the  size  of  the vaginal introitus has no bearing on a case of sexual assault, and therefore a test to ascertain the laxity of the vaginal muscles which is commonly referred to as the two-finger test must not be conducted. On the basis of this test observations/ conclusions such as 'habituated to sexual intercourse' should not be made and this is forbidden by law

We also are of the opinion that the medico-legal examination report should note the date and time of examination and be sent without delay to the concerned  investigating  officer.    To  avoid unnecessary  delays,  the  report  must  be transmitted to the IO by way of email (as a secure PDF  file  –  digitally  signed  where  possible),  in addition to sending by way of regular government post.   It is in this background that Section 164A was  introduced  to  the  CrPC.

We  are  also  of  the  opinion  that  the  medical examination of a rape/sexual assault victim must
necessarily take place under the supervision of a senior female obstetrician/gynaecologist.  In the
event  an  obstetrician/gynaecologist  is  not available, it shall be a senior female doctor who
will examine a rape victim.  We also recommend that in order to ensure that there is a consensus of opinion on the medical examination, a board of three doctors must examine a rape/sexual assault victim.    We  believe  it  is  important  that  the deliberations  of  the  said  board  of  doctors  be recorded as an audio recording, which must be later made available to a court to satisfy itself that there has been a fair consensus building in relation to the opinion formation as far as the victim is concerned

(a) Every Police Station shall have available round the clock a lady police official/ officer not below the rank of Head Constable.
(b) As soon as a complaint of the offence is received, the  duty  officer  receiving  the  complaint/
information shall call the lady police official/ officer present at the police station and make the victim and her family comfortable.

We  are  also  of  the  opinion  that  the  medical examination report must be prepared, preferably
immediately  after  the  examination,  but  most certainly on the same date as the examination and must  be  forwarded  to  the  investigating  agency forthwith  without  delay.    The  DNA  and  other samples should be sent to the concerned Forensic Science Labs or DNA Profiling Centres within two days of the incident.

The Committee is of the opinion that in cases of rape/sexual assault, additional representation, if
sought,  is  made  available  to  the complainant/victim prior to and during the trial.
While  the  sole  responsibility  of  carriage  of prosecuting  a  crime  lies  with  the  State,  we
consider  it  necessary  to  suggest  that  in rape/sexual assault cases the complainant and/or
the victim must have the opportunity to engage his/her own lawyer.  The said lawyer would also
be  permitted  to  assist  the  prosecutor,  examine witnesses and make submissions to the Court.

We have also taken note of proviso to Section 24(8) of the CrPC which empowers the Court to permit the victim to engage an advocate of his/her choice to  assist  the  prosecution  under  this  Section.  However, we would like to add that it is necessary to confer an independent right of representation in favour of the victim.  In other words, we wish to make it clear that it should be a statutory right as a part of due process of access to justice that the victim/complainant  will  be  able  to  engage  a lawyer of his or her choice – that is, the victim’s advocate  should  have  a  right  of  audience  in his/her own right, and not merely in a support capacity  to  the  prosecutor.    The  Committee believes that this will add an additional level of oversight in the trial process.

The 42nd Law Commission then stated that even this was not enough.  It would be necessary to
amend Section 53 of the Evidence Act and insert Section 53A which says:-

“In a prosecution for rape or attempt to commit rape where the question of consent for sexual intercourse or attempt to sexual intercourse is at issue, evidence of the character  of  the  prosecutrix  or  a  previous  sexual experience with any person other than the accused shall
not be on the issue of such consent or the quality of consent.”

 We recommend the enactment of Section 53A as suggested by the 42nd Law Commission.

We are constrained to observe that criminal justice system is not working in our country as it should. The police reforms have not taken place despite directions of this Court in the case of Prakash Singh & Ors vs Union of India & Ors. We do not intend to say anything more
in this regard since matter is being dealt with separately by  a  3-Judge  Bench.  The  investigators  hardly  have professional orientation; they do not have modern tools.
On  many  occasions  impartial  investigation  suffers because of political interference. The criminal trials are protracted  because  of  non-appearance  of  official witnesses  on  time  and  the  non-availability  of  the facilities for recording evidence by video conferencing.
The public prosecutors have their limitations”

The committee takes the view that in line with Prakash  Singh,  implementation  of  the  Supreme
Court directions need not await the framing of a new Police Act. Until an Act, on the lines of the
Model  Police  Act,  proposed  by  the  Sorabjee Drafting Committee, or that which is annexed to
the 8th report of the National Police Commission, is passed by Parliament and implemented across the country, the seven directions in Prakash Singh must be complied forthwith

This Committee recommends that the guidelines issued for the police by the High Court of Delhi in Delhi  Commission  for  Women  v.  Lalit  Pandey  and another197  must  be  mandatory  and  immediately followed  in  relation  to  all  sexual  offence complaints  across  the  Country.

All  police  stations  should  have  CCTV’s  at  the entrance of the police station, in police cells and in the questioning room. All PCR vans should also contain CCTV’s.

In  addition  to  every  individual  being  able  to register an FIR at any police station irrespective of the  jurisdiction  in  which  the  crime  was complained of in writing, every individual must
also be able to register his complaint online on a designated website. After this a complaint number should  be  automatically  generated  so  the complainant can track the FIR.

In this Committee’s view every police officer on patrol is under a moral, legal and Constitutional
duty to assist the victim of any traffic accident or crime irrespective of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred or irrespective of the jurisdiction of the  police  station  from  which  such  officers  are operating. This is especially important in relation to sexual offences.

The investigative branch of the police should have the appropriate scientific equipment and
training  to  be  able  to  conduct  the  highest standards  of  investigation  in  every  case.  In
relation to sexual offences this includes in the collection  of  forensic,  medical  and  written
evidence and preservation and investigation of crime scenes.

The total number of police personnel present on  the  street  needs  to  be  increased.  It  is
especially important that the number of female police  personnel  on  patrol  and  on  duty  in
police stations is increased; so that females feel comfortable  in  complaining  of  sexual
harassment or threats of a sexual nature to any member of the police.

We  also  have  found  that  political  parties  have given tickets to twenty-seven (27) candidates who contested the State elections in the last 5 years who have declared that they have been charged with rape. The names of such candidates are not being reproduced in this report but are readily accessible from the information provided by the Association for Democratic Reform from their website.

Sexuality  education  is  the  process  of  assisting young people in their physical, social, emotional and  moral  development  as  they  prepare  for adulthood, marriage, parenthood and ageing, as well as their social relationships in the context of family and society. The need to impart appropriate education on sexuality is an important issue that parents  and  teachers  must  acknowledge  and address  if  they  want  to  make  sure  that  their children are well adjusted and safe, and will grow up to be mature and balanced individuals.

In our view, it is the duty of the State to provide clear, well informed  and scientifically grounded
sexuality education based on the universal values of respect for human rights

We  are  indeed  surprised  to  note  that notwithstanding the outstanding work which had
been  undertaken  by  UNESCO,  which  has compiled  a  2-volume  “International  Technical
Guidance  on  Sexuality  Education”,  the  Indian education framework has not adopted any of these salutary practices in being able to propound the introduction and clear transmission of knowledge relating  to  sex,  choices,  respect,  avoidance  of conflicts and understanding of the consequences of choices made by children and young adults. The said  UNESCO  guidance  pithily  points  out  the necessity of imparting sexuality education at an early age to students:

It is time for the judiciary to step in to discharge the  constitutional  mandate  of  enforcing
fundamental rights and implementation of the rule of law

Suggested Reading –

Read Full Report prepared by Justice JS Verma suggested amendment of criminal law Crimes against women

Reality views by sm –

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tags – Justice JS Varma Report Crime against Women Amendment of Criminal Laws 78 Facts


MEcoy January 24, 2013  

this is very sensible post sm

Arti January 24, 2013  

Thanks for the post sm. Its nice and informative.