Indian panel recommends steps for safety of women
By Nirmala George ,APNEW DELHI -- An Indian government panel recommended Wednesday the strict enforcement of sexual assault laws, a commitment for speedy rape trials and an overhaul of the country's antiquated penal code to protect women in the wake of a fatal gang rape in New Delhi last month.
January 24, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The three-member panel received more than 80,000 idea submissions in the month since it was set up by the government to help quell street protests and demands for reform sparked by the rape.
It panel recommended that police and other officials who fail to act against crimes against women be punished. It called for a crackdown on dowry payments to enhance women's status, since families are often forced into massive debt to get their daughters married.
It also suggested the government appoint more judges to lessen the backlog of cases and ensure swift justice, and it called for updating the law to include crimes such as voyeurism, stalking and other crimes against women.
“We hope the Parliament will take the legislative suggestions given by the committee,” and translate these into law, said retired Chief Justice J.S. Verma, who headed the panel.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office had no immediate comment about what it would do with the recommendations.
Verma advocated for strict punishment to prevent sexual harassment and assaults against women and sought reforms in how police treat rape victims.
He called for speedy justice and the setting of a time frame to deal with cases of crimes against women.