Condemning sexual violence in the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old, women's rights groups on Monday thrashed the government appointed committee of jurists claiming none of the members have handled women-related cases.
The government announced the committee of jurists headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma with justice (retired) Leila Seth, former chief justice of Himachal Pradesh high court and Gopal Subramanian, former solicitor general of India, to give recommendations on amending laws to provide speedy justice and enhanced punishment in sexual assault cases.
“None of them has worked on women's issues. Neither of them has been a women's lawyer nor has a background of research on women's issue,”said Vrinda Grover, advocate and women's rights activist.
Commenting on the December 17 gang rape and subsequent angry protests demanding death for rapists, Grover added, “Unfortunately the debate has moved towards the kind of punishment. But that will happen only after conviction.”
The rate of conviction is dismal as statistics show that cases of rape have a conviction rate of as low as 26 per cent. Questioning the rationale behind ‘fast track courts’, the activists said, “These do not work because there is no supporting infrastructure. For instance, Delhi has only three forensic laboratories handling all kinds of forensic examinations."
Kalpana V, associated with Delhi-based Jagori, said: “We need to understand that there is a basic change that needs to take place— it is, what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.”