Note Submitted CPI(M) to the Justice Verma Committee on Amendments to Relevant Laws and Measures to Deal with Sexual Assaults & Violence Against Women.
Some of the main points in the note are as follows:
1. In the case of aggravated sexual assault/rape which would include gang-rape, child rape, custodial rape etc. the maximum punishment should be rigorous life imprisonment for the entire life of the person.
2. In other cases of rape, the maximum sentence should be life imprisonment.
3. In both the above categories the minimum sentence which is proposed in the draft Bill should be increased.There should be no provision in the law which will allow courts to reduce the sentence even less than the minimum in the name of “extenuating circumstances”.
4.There has to be time-bound disposal of all cases of rape in courts. For this the law must provide for special fast-track courts.
5. In all cases of sexual assault the case must be completed within three months. No bail should be granted to the accused while the hearings are on as the entire process will be time-bound.
6. Public servants not implementing the law including timely filing of FIR should face punishment. In the proposed amendment on this issue in the Bill, a minimum punishment should be prescribed.
7. There must be rehabilitation measures including financial help mandated by law for victims of sexual assault.
8. Acid attacks on women must be treated as a serious crime. The minimum sentence for which must be enhanced and the maximum must provide for life imprisonment.
9. The law must mandate the setting up of a monitoring mechanism to aid the steps being taken by various agencies to prevent, control and punish those involved in sexual crimes against women including minors.
10. Clauses in the IPC and other relevant laws concerning sexual assault have to be gender specific and not gender neutral as proposed in the Bill pending before parliament.
11. Steps have to be taken to prevent the broadcast or publication of demeaning and highly sexist advertisements that commodify women’s bodies and promote aggressive misogynist cultures.
12. The legal framework against sexual crimes must make it mandatory to include in all educational syllabi in schools and colleges gender sensitization courses for boys and girls and young men and women