The government is in a race against time to find a solution resolve the deadlock on the anti-rape bill. With barely 10 days left for the government to ensure its passage, to avoid the embarrassment of its February 3 ordinance getting lapsed.
On a day of quick developments, the government was forced to refer the criminal laws (amendment) bill to an informal Group of Ministers (GoM), following serious differences within the cabinet on its various provisions. The union cabinet will meet on Thursday to discuss the recommendations of the GoM.
The government has also convened an all-party meeting on Monday as the latest resistances are not merely emerging from the opposition camp but also from its key outside supporters. These parties—reportedly worried about the possible misuse of the proposed bill—seemed to have questioned the tearing hurry to pass the bill.
Top Congress sources claimed that some opposition parties have even threatened to disrupt the parliament on some pretext or the other if the bill is brought before the House without addressing these concerns.
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdury, however, said: “We are looking at all aspects. We are not delaying the bill.”
In the cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, woman and child development minister Krishna Tirath is believed to have vehemently opposed the proposal to reduce the age of consent for sex from 18 to 16.
While age of consent has become a major bone of contention provisions against voyeurism and stalking have also been dubbed as too harsh by a section of the opposition.
Even SP and BSP—the two crucial support bases for the UPA—have raised serious doubts on some provisions of the bill.