Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said the definition of rape was being widened without diluting it and will include all kinds of sexual assault.
“We are not going to dilute the definition of rape. The definition of rape will be widened to include all kinds of sexual assaults,” he said, while replying to questions in Lok Sabha.
The suggestion to make sexual assault gender neutral was made by a high-powered panel headed by Home Secretary G K Pillai, which considered the recommendations of 172nd Law Commission report. A final decision will be taken in the first week of April.
The law panel in its 172nd report had recommended that the word 'rape' be replaced with sexual assault to make it gender neutral and those of 16 years of age or less should be defined as minor.
Making sexual assault “gender neutral” will imply that the relevant sections of IPC can be slapped on accused of any gender, who commits the crime.
To a question on harassment of 'in-laws' in case of dowry deaths, Chidambaram said instructions have been issued to arrest only those who are directly involved in the case and not the extended family.
‘Pune blast a blot on govt record’
Chidambaram said the terror attack on German Bakery in Pune last month was a “blot on our record” as it could not be averted despite intelligence being shared well in advance about the specific target.
Replying to questions in the Lok Sabha, he said there was no intelligence failure as enough information was shared with the Maharashtra and Pune police about the Pune attack and other soft targets.
“Despite intelligence sharing, it (Pune terror attack) occurred, it is a blot on our record,” Chidambaram said.
He said the information was shared with the Maharashtra government on October 9, 2009 and the same was acknowledged by the bakery’s manager. “...Unfortunately, German Bakery did not heed this advice,” Chidambaram said.