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Amend laws related to women’s safety: activists

Activists have asked for amendments in existing laws to safeguard women’s safety and rights, Nidhi Varma reports.
Hindustan Times | By Nidhi Varma, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 04, 2013 01:43 AM IST

Activists have asked for amendments in existing laws to safeguard women’s safety and rights.

On Thursday, members of Help Mumbai Foundation (HMF), an NGO, met governor K Sankaranarayanan and submitted a memorandum asking for amendments in sections of the Indian Penal Code that relate to women’s safety.

The group demanded that offences against women be made non-bailable, capital punishment for rape accused, fast-track courts and right to choose lawyers to increase conviction rate. They also demanded the implementation of central government directives on the issue.

“We are not doing this as a reaction to the Delhi gang rape incident. In fact, we had proposed a bill, Maharashtra Prohibition of Eve-teasing and Harassment of Women, on December 8 last year,” said Varuna Khanna, director of the foundation.

According to the activists, the bill will be able to protect women from rampant sexual harassment. The activists had given a copy of their bill to Varsha Gaikwad, state minister for women and child development.

The group also asked for amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act, which states that an offence committed by a person below 18 is an act of innocence.

They demanded that the age be reduced to 15 years. “If a person can commit rape then he is also an adult to bear the prescribed punishment,” said Bobby Malhotra, director, HMF.

Activists said women arming themselves was not a solution. “We need good conscience and the right education for everyone in India,” said Malhotra.

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