Contending that setting up fast-track courts to try sexual offences was an inadequate measure, a host of women's organisations have asked the Centre to consider changing the definition of rape and bringing in the Sexual Assault Bill to better address such issues.
"Unless the definitional and substantive aspects of the rape law and associated set of laws which deal with sexual harassment, molestation, unnatural offences, kidnapping and abduction of girls and women in everyday and extraordinary cases are amended, the proposed law to fast-track sexual violence cases will remain a hollow gesture," they said.
Seeking a public discussion in the matter, the groups which included the 'Saheli Women's Resources Centre' said the Sexual Assault Bill which has been pending for many years is a long-standing demand of the women's organisations.
"We need to codify other forms of sexual violence and penalise them, otherwise anything short of rape as defined in section 375 and 376 of IPC falls under section 354 of IPC," they said in an open letter to Home Minister P Chidambaram.
The women's organisations also called for a time-bound national discussion about ways that democratically advance legal reforms.
The Union Government has said it was looking at setting up fast-track courts to try sexual offences in the wake of the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case in which the accused was convicted after 19 years.