Now for the Government to act
Posted January 24, 2013on:
The Justice Verma committee on amendments to criminal law in respect of crimes against women submitted its report to the government in a record time — that is, within one month. The committee was constituted following the countrywide public outburst, in the wake of the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year old medical student in Delhi in the night of December 16, 2012, against the failure of the government to provide a safe and dignified environment for the women in India. The constitution of the committee helped soften the people’s anger to some extent.
The committee comprised Justice J S Verma, retired Chief Justice of India (chairman), Justice Leila Seth, retired Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court and Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor General of India (members).
The committee has made comprehensive recommendations on amendments to the relevant laws and about making the law enforcement machinery more responsive. The committee was shocked at the clumsy response of the Delhi police to the gang-rape incident and the peaceful public protests that followed it. Justice Verma could not hide his pique at Union Home Secretary R K Singh’s word of praise for Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar in spite of the mishandling of the whole situation by the police.
The apathy of the administration can be measured by the non response of the ministries and near silence of state police chiefs (DGPs). Many government departments sent in their suggestions just a day before, may be after reading news reports that the committee would be submitting the report on the following day.
It is precisely because of these reasons that one doubts that the government will show the same alacrity in implementing the recommendations of the committee with which it had formed the committee. Those in power — the politicians and more particularly the IAS and IPS officers — have a deep-rooted vested interest in perpetuating the status quo. Maybe, the people would have to come onto the streets once again to force the government to implement the committee’s recommendations and act on them with speed. However, if the people have once again to take to the streets, no one can say what shape the protests will take.