Justice Verma Committee submitted its report on Jan 23, 2015 with recommendation to deal with sexual assaults. Here, is summary of key recommendatins made in the report.
Definition of Rape:
- Widen the purview of definition of rape with addition of any kind of non-consensual penetration of a sexual nature. Earlier definition was limited to penetration of the vagina, mouth or anus.
- Go away with the difference between rape within marriage and outside marriage
- The Committee recommended that non-penetrative forms of sexual contact should be regarded as sexual assault.
- Also enhanced punishment for all kind of sexual assult including verbal sexual assult.
- Most of the recommedation are now part of Sexual harassment at workplace Act.
- Central and state government create a corpus to compensate victims of crimes against women.
- The Committee has recommended that the requirement of sanction for prosecution of armed forces personnel should be specifically excluded when a sexual offence is alleged.
- Complainants of sexual violence must be afforded witness protection.
- Special commissioners should be appointed in conflict areas to monitor and prosecute for sexual offences.
- Training of armed personnel should be reoriented to emphasise strict observance of orders in this regard by armed personnel.
- The provisions of the IPC on slavery be amended to criminalise trafficking by threat, force or inducement.
- It also recommended criminalising employment of a trafficked person.
- The juvenile and women protective homes should be placed under the legal guardianship of High Courts and steps should be taken to reintegrate the victims into society.
Child sexual abuse
- The Committee has recommended that the terms ‘harm’ and ‘health’ be defined under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 to include mental and physical harm and health, respectively, of the juvenile.
Punishment for crimes against women
- The Committee rejected the proposal for chemical castration as it fails to treat the social foundations of rape.
- It opined that death penalty should not be awarded for the offence of rape as there was considerable evidence that death penalty was not a deterrence to serious crimes.
- It recommended life imprisonment for rape.
Medical examination of a rape victim
- The Committee has recommended the discontinuation of the two-finger test which is conducted to determine the laxity of the vaginal muscles.
- Establishment of State Security Commissions to ensure that state governments do not exercise influence on the state police. Such Commissions should be headed by the Chief Minister or the Home Minister of the state.
- The Commission would lay down broad policy guidelines so that the Police acts according to the law.
- A Police Establishment Board should be established to decide all transfers, postings and promotions of officers.
- Director General of Police and Inspector General of Police should have a minimum tenure of 2 years.
Reforms in management of cases related to crime against women:
- A Rape Crisis Cell should be set up. The Cell should be immediately notified when an FIR in relation to sexual assault is made. The Cell must provide legal assistance to the victim.
- All police stations should have CCTVs at the entrance and in the questioning room.
- A complainant should be able to file FIRs online.
- Police officers should be duty bound to assist victims of sexual offences irrespective of the crime’s jurisdiction.
- Members of the public who help the victims should not be treated as wrong doers.
- The police should be trained to deal with sexual offences appropriately.
- Number of police personnel should be increased. Community policing should be developed by providing training to volunteers.
- The Committee recommended the amendment of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
- The Committee was of the opinion that filing of charge sheet and cognizance by the Court was sufficient for disqualification of a candidate under the Act.
- It further recommended that candidates should be disqualified for committing sexual offences.
- The Committee has recommended that children’s experiences should not be gendered.
- It has recommended that sexuality education should be imparted to children.
- Adult literacy programs are necessary for gender empowerment.