Committee meets to iron out differences
Within hours of being set up on Tuesday, the Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by finance minister P Chidambaram held its first meeting on the contentious provisions of anti rape laws, which was stuck in the cabinet.delhi Updated: Mar 13, 2013 00:10 IST
Within hours of being set up on Tuesday, the Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by finance minister P Chidambaram held its first meeting on the contentious provisions of anti rape laws, which was stuck in the cabinet.
With barely 10 days left for the government to save its much hyped anti-rape ordinance from getting lapsed, the GoM comprising seven ministers, tried to iron out the differences on replacing the term sexual assault with rape in the IPC and fixing the age of consent for sex.
Though a final decision is likely on Wednesday, there are indications that the GoM will recommend retaining rape as a gender specific crime in the IPC and also fixing the age of consent for sex at 16 years.
In the meeting which continued for around two hours, the ministerial group also discussed possible safeguards to prevent the misuse of newly- defined offences such as stalking and voyeurism. After the meeting, Chidambaram said “substantial progress” has been made, but refused to divulge the specific details.
Chidambaram has called another meeting on Wednesday to finalise the GOMs recommendations which will be taken to the cabinet on Thursday.
Fixing the age of consensual sex had become a bone of contention. While the home and law ministries supported lowering the age to 16 years, the women & child development (WCD) ministry had dissented, citing it is in variance with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act which criminalises sexual act with an individual under 18.
“Parliament had last year cleared the POCSO Act unanimously. Now, reducing the age of consent for sex will dilute the provisions of the special law made to safeguard children from sexual abuse,” said WCD minister Krishna Tirath after the GOM.