For all his fame in legal circles, it was only after the infamous Delhi gang rape that Justice (Retd) JS Verma became a household name. He was appointed by UPA-II to head the JS Verma committee recommending amendments to existing criminal laws and the way they deal with women.
At an event organised by the Indian Merchants’ Chamber’s women’s wing on Saturday, Justice Verma said, “There is global concern about the Delhi gang rape. But why should a horrific gang rape be needed to move us to action? I praise the youth of this country for their peaceful and spontaneous protest.”
Verma pointed out that though his generation had “failed” to uphold Gandhiji’s ideals, the current generation had shown much more resolve in following them.
Recounting his struggle to table the committee report, Verma praised his team of interns, who worked round the clock for research. "Not one of them slept for more than five hours at a time. On the last day, they finished proofreading it at 7.45 am to have it ready by 2 pm. Those youngsters are the real heroes," he said.
Union minister for Law and Justice Ashwani Kumar also spoke at the event. He said, “We have for the moment not included marital rape in the Ordinance for various reasons. One of them being in our country marriage is not treated as a contract unlike in other democratic countries. However, when a wife is separated from her husband and if he sexually assaults her then he will be booked.”
The ordinance would be placed before the cabinet next week, he said. “There is a need for introspection and reflection to ensure that laws are not capable of being abused. If there are gaps in the law it can lead to gross violation,” Kumar said.
‘Victims turn hostile after marrying their rapists’
MUMBAI Police Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh said at the event that in most rape cases, which are reported to the police, the rapists are known to the victim. He added that this year four times more cases of rape were registered than last year. “It's a positive sign as it means more people are coming forward to report cases,” he said. He admitted that courses have been conducted to sensitise the police. But if they did not take complaints from rape victims, then they would be dismissed. Singh also commented that in 30 to 35 per cent of cases, 'boyfriends' raped their girlfriends. "Such girls often end up marrying their rapists and when the case comes up for trial 10 years later, they turn hostile," he said.