Justice JS Verma, who headed a committee set up to review laws after the Delhi gangrape, on Wednesday said there was a need to "learn from the youth" who led a "peaceful protest" against the incident.
"There is much to learn from the youth. It was the young who were conscious that gender inequality has to be done away with," the former chief justice of India said at a press conference here after submitting his report.
"Even when there was provocation, they did not react and continued to maintain calm. It was an humbling experience for all of us who are of an older generation," he said.
"The kind of satisfaction I have had in being involved in this exercise is not matched by anything else," he said.
The panel was set up to suggest ways to make rape laws stronger.
Home secretary RK Singh on Wednesday got a rap on his knuckles from Verma for his praise of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar in the aftermath of the Delhi gangrape incident, saying he was shocked to hear this when an apology was expected.
"The Commissioner of Police was given a pat on his back by no less than a person holding the post of home secretary. I was shocked to see that," Verma told a press conference here after submitting report on measures to improve laws dealing with sexual offences.
He said the least he would have done was to seek an apology for the failure of the duty to protect citizens and "instead of that (what did we see)".
Singh had praised Delhi Police during a press interaction days after the December 16 incident when the force arrested six men allegedly involved in the crime.
A 23-year-old girl was gangraped in a moving bus in south Delhi allegedly by six men. The girl died on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.
'Recommendations top priority'
The government will accord top priority to implementation of Verma Committee's recommendations for dealing with crimes against women, Union law minister Ashwani Kumar said on Wednesday, emphasising the need for removing procedural inadequacies for speedy delivery of justice.
The government expects comprehensive proposals and it would do whatever deemed fit to improve the judicial process to achieve the objective of dealing firmly with crime against women, Kumar told reporters in New Delhi.
"The recommendations would be tabled before the Cabinet and later Parliament for constitutional amendments. Procedural inadequacies that lead to inordinate delays need to be addressed," the minister said.
The Verma committee received around 80,000 suggestions and wrapped up its work within 29 days.
Justice Verma, the head of the three-member panel, was approached by the central government for the task on December 23. The other members of the panel are former Himachal Pradesh Chief Justice Leila Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam.
Kumar said the Usha Mehra Commission, set up to inquire into various aspects of the shocking incident of rape and brutal assault of a young woman in Delhi last month and suggest measures to improve the safety and security of women, particularly in Delhi and NCR, will also submit its report later this month or first week of February.
When asked about the demand for reducing the juvenile age from 18 to 16 years, he said the issue required to be considered given the changing social norms.
"We need to apply our mind," he said.
Panel gets 80,000 suggestions
Verma committee, set up to recommend measures to improve laws dealing with sexual offences, has received around 80,000 suggestions and wrapped up its work within 29 days.
Verma, the head of the three-member panel, was approached by the Central government for the task on December 23. The other members of the panel are former Himachal Pradesh Chief Justice Leila Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam.
He said the failure of governance was the root cause of crime against women. He also said it was "equally shocking" that there was total apathy of everyone who had a duty to perform.
"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," Verma told a press conference after submitting his voluminous report to the Home Ministry.
He said the report may be known after him but it is the outcome of suggestions from people within India and outside the country.
"We received 80,000 suggestions," he said adding all of them were read and considered before finalising the report.
On how he decided on a time frame for finalising the report, Verma said when a senior Cabinet Minister approached him on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he asked him when is the next session of Parliament.
"The Minister told me that the (Budget) session will start on February 21. There were two months. So I decided lets 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," he said.
He complimented the youth for the mature response.
"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," he said.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)
Justice Verma Report by barandbench