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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

'Delhi rape made govt act on women safety'

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 07, 2013
First Published: 10:37 IST(7/4/2013) | Last Updated: 03:29 IST(8/4/2013)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the December 16 gangrape in the capital compelled the government to introspect about the existing laws and it responded quickly by making major changes in the criminal laws to deal with heinous crimes against women.

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Addressing the conference of chief ministers and chief justices, Singh said a lot more needed to be done to tackle the offences taking place against women.

He also struck a note of caution against the knee-jerk reactions in dealing with such sensitive issues.

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"The national outrage at the recent horrific tragedy of gang-rape in Delhi compels an urgent introspection about our laws and justice delivery system but we must not allow ourselves to be overcome by a sense of despair," Singh said.   

"Fundamental and time tested principles of natural justice must not be compromised to satiate the shrill rhetoric that often defines our political discourse and sometimes succeeds in drowning appeals to logic and justice," he said.

Singh said the government had moved with urgency to respond to the felt sensitivities of the people in the aftermath of the "gruesome tragedy", but acknowledged that a great deal more needs to be done as far as offences against women are concerned.

Law minister Ashwani Kumar admitted that affordable and quick justice for the common man was still a "distant dream", saying a majority of the people were still outside the protective umbrella of the law.

"Bringing justice to the doorsteps of the people is integral to our aim of improving access to justice, particularly for the poor and marginalized people of the country," Kumar said.

The Centre was willing to fund the process of strengthening subordinate judiciary, the state governments will also have to pitch in with their efforts, the minister said.

"I must confess that our judicial system is under strain with more than three crore cases pending in various courts," Kumar said.

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