Union home secretary RK Singh and Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar faced the ire of retired Justice JS Verma and his two committee members who said that the gang-rape of 23-year-old paramedical student brought out the failures in maintaining law and order in Delhi and dealing with sexual assault crimes against women.
The committee members have recommended punishment up to 20 years for rape and life imprisonment for cases of gang rape but the panel stopped short of recommending death sentence to the convicts which was one of the major demands of protesters and almost all political parties.
While speaking to reporters after submitting the report, Verma said that he was shocked to see home secretary RK Singh praising Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar after incident because an apology was expected from the Delhi Police for not being able to protect the victim. Verma also said that there is a lack of sensitivity on the part of the police officers who implement laws.
“We have submitted the report in 29 days. When I offered to do the work within 30 days, I did not realise the magnitude of the work. The home minister has said that budget session will start on February 21. There were two months. So I decided to do it in 30 days. If we are able to do it in half the time available, then the government with its might and resources should also act fast,” said JS Verma, while talking to reporters.
Committee members were also of the view that the police action against students and protesters after the gang rape incident scarred Indian democracy. The use of force by policemen against school and college students had come under severe criticism by political parties and Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit wanted police commissioner Neeraj Kumar to be removed from the top post.
“Youth has taught us what we, the older generation, were not aware of. I was struck by the peaceful manner in which the protests were carried out. The youth rose to the occasion,” Verma added.
The three-member committee has also recommended that the union government should end the ambiguity over the control of Delhi Police. Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had raised the issue during the protests by students which followed after the gang rape incident. The union government had formed the three member committee to suggest necessary changes in law to stop rape and other crimes against women. The committee was given a period of one month to suggest the changes.
The committee had asked for suggestions from public, political parties, non-government organisations (NGOs) and it received over 80,000 suggestions from India and abroad. The two national parties, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had suggested death sentence for rape.
Committee members have also asked the government to amend Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and suggested that all rape cases involving men in uniform in areas of conflict should be brought under ordinary criminal law. The members have also asked the government to appoint special commissioners with adequate powers to redress complaints of sexual violence against women in conflict areas.
Highlights of the report
* Amend Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)
* 20 years imprisonment for rape and life imprisonment for gang rape
* Appoint special commissioners to redress complaints of sexual violence against women in * conflict areas
* Committee received 80,000 suggestions from India and abroad
* End ambiguity over control of Delhi Police
* Police action against protesters scarred Indian democracy
* Shocked to see home secretary RK Singh praising Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar after * incident because an apology was expected