Hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised to take steps to ensure security of women and children, the government decided to set up a separate commission to probe whether police lapses were responsible for the December 16 gangrape of a 23 year-old student.
three-member committee of jurists got down to work on how to make criminal law more effective on heinous crimes against women.
Justice Usha Mehra, a former Delhi high court judge, will head this inquiry commission, which will look into all aspects of the shocking incident which has caused national outrage and led to angry demands for fixing responsibility among the top brass in city police.
With appeals for calm on his lips, Singh had promised to go into the responses to this terrible crime as well as "all aspects" concerning the safety of women and children and punishment to those who commit these "monstrous crimes".
Singh also said he, too, felt as strongly about the gangrape "as a father of three daughters" as the protesters.
The government had to set up two different panels for probing the gangrape incident and recommending changes in criminal law, following refusal by former Chief Justice of India JS Verma to look into it. He is of the view that it is for the court conducting the trial to consider all aspects related to the incident.
The law ministry has forwarded Justice Mehra's name to the home ministry after law minister Ashwani Kumar spoke to her and got her consent.
The jurists committee headed by Justice Verma, with former high court chief justice Leila Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium as members, began its work today by seeking public comments on the issue by January 5.
The panel has sought comments from the public in general, particularly eminent jurists, legal professionals, NGOs, women's groups and civil society members on reviewing the existing laws in a bid to provide quicker justice and stringent punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault, an official statement said.
The comments can be sent at the email ID: email@example.com or through Fax at 011-23092675.
The committee will consider amendments in the criminal law for faster trial and enhanced punishment for criminals convicted for committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women.
It will give its recommendations within 30 days.
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