Women right activists have welcomed the government's move to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill to make it gender sensitive and reduce the age of consent to 16 years.
"The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the 2012 Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill as well as the 2013 Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance not only violates the letter and spirit of the Justice Verma Committee (JVC) recommendations but endangers and deepens women's vulnerability in this country," around 10 women organsiations under the banner of Pension Parishad said.
They described the recommendation of the standing committee to make rape laws gender neutral as "wholly unacceptable" and said that rape is an act of violence that must be seen in context of deeply entrenched power inequalities between men and power.
Making rape laws gender neutral, they said, would result in filing of counter complaints forcing women to withdraw.
They also demanded that rape within marriage should be recognized as an offence, a demand not accepted by the government so far. "Marital status must not have any bearing on the right of a woman to say no," they said.