Centre to decide on tougher rape punishment on Jan 4
As the nationwide outrage over the Delhi gangrape case continues, Women and Child Development Minister (WCD) Krishna Tirath on Tuesday said that her ministry was yet to take a final call on whether rape convicts should get the death penalty.
"Though public demand for the death penalty is getting shriller, a final decision will be taken on January 4 when the home minister, law minister and I meet to finalise the government's recommendation to be submitted to Justice JS Verma committee set up to suggest amendments to rape laws," Tirath told HT.
Tirath said that though her ministry was all for harsher punishment for rape convicts and would also recommend it to the Justice Verma
committee, a decision on the death penalty and chemical castration should not be taken in haste.
"We have got differing views from women's activists and NGOs on whether chemical castration should be permitted or not. It has both pros and
cons. We are yet to firm our view on this and are going through the issue," she said.
The WCD ministry met over four dozen women's activists and representatives from non-government organisations on December 27 to take their views.
Tirath on Tuesday wrote a letter to Justice Verma, demanding that the three-member committee should hear women's organisations before finalising the recommendations.
"Women organisations and activists working on these issues wanted to meet the committee members and put forward their views. I have written to Justice Verma, requesting that they should be given a separate hearing," she said.
The three-member Justice Verma Committee was constituted on December 23 to suggest possible changes in criminal law for quicker trial and enhanced punishment to criminals in rape cases.
It has to submit its report to the government in 30 days.