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Verma Committee Report: Tribute to all sexual assault victims of India

 

 

Wednesday July 06, 2016

India, Violence against Women, Justice J S Verma Committee  
 
Justice JS Verma Committee report slams police apathy in India and points out that not even one Director General of Police from any Indian state did send any recommendations even as the committee has received almost 80,000 suggestions from different sections of the society. The panel also slams the government and the public for failing to perform their duties while calling for police reforms and gender sensitisation of the force to deal with crimes against women.  
HNF Correspondent  
 

Terming the report of the Justice JS Verma Committee as a groundbreaking basis for action against violence against women in India, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay welcomed the report and urged the Government to follow its vision and recommendations.

Praising the report, the UN High Commissioner said, on January 25, 2013, “I salute Justice Verma and his Committee on producing such a thorough report so quickly, and for involving women’s groups and civil society so fully in the process.”

“This report and its far-reaching recommendations are not only a tribute to the brave young woman who was raped and murdered five weeks ago, but to all victims of sexual violence and assault in India,” said Pillay.

 

“It is also a testament to the power of the young women and men of India, and the broader civil society, who have joined hands across the nation to say ‘Enough is Enough’,” added the UN High Commissioner.

The Verma Committee Report recommends a number of changes including punishment for marital rape, domestic rape and rape in same-sex relationships requiring police officers of India to register every case of reported rape. The report strongly recommends to ensure that those who fail to do so face serious repercussions and to ensure accountability of police or armed forces personnel for sexual violence. The report also suggests change in the humiliating protocol for medical examinations experienced by rape victims while recommending for cracking down on extra-legal village councils, known as khap panchayats, which often issue edicts against women. Verma Committee Report advises to take up comprehensive measures to improve sexuality education in schools and the community. The report also proposes to make new legal requirements and electoral reforms to ensure that people charged with criminal offences may not hold political office.

Justice Verma Committee report slams police apathy in India and points out that not even one Director General of Police from any state of India did send any recommendations even as the committee has received almost 80,000 suggestions from different sections of the Indian society. The panel also slams the government and the public for failing to perform their duties while calling for police reforms and gender sensitisation of the force to deal with crimes against women.

Taking note of sexual harassment by uniformed men, the Report recommends that sexual offences by armed forces and uniformed men in conflict areas should be brought under ordinary criminal law. Observing that there is an imminent need to review AFSPA in conflict areas, the Verma Committee has recommended appointment of Special Commissioners with adequate powers to redress complaints of sexual and other violence against women in conflict areas.

“The Committee’s recommendations are grounded in a framework of rights, equality and non-discrimination, and represent a paradigm shift towards recognition of women as holders of rights, not just objects of protection,” Pillay endorsed the report adding that “The report should serve as a beacon for many other countries struggling to respect the rights of women more comprehensively by addressing sexual violence through legislation, policies and programmes.”

The UN High Commissioner acknowledged some of the urgent steps already taken by the Government, including the establishment of fast-track courts, and urged all political leaders of the country to rally around the Verma report and make implementation of its recommendations on an unequivocal national priority.

 
 

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