Support Centre for Women
लोक राजनीति मंच
An open consultation was held in Lucknow at Ambedkar Mahasabha, opposite Vidhan Sabha Lucknowon Friday, 28
December 2012 (3-4pm), to seek input for Justice JS Verma Committee that is currentlyseeking input to strengthen laws to respond to cases of sexual violence. This consultation was organized jointly by Socialist Party, Lok Rajniti Manch, Humsafar
Support Centre for Women, Asha Parivar and
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM).
Recommendations to Justice JS Verma Committee:
(Not in any particular priority)
There was a strong consensus that Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012 that is currently inParliament proceedings must not be passed in its current form because of its many seriousloopholes and lacuna. For example, definition of
‘rape’ should not be limited to penetrativesexual intercourse. Sexual violation of a person’s dignity is not just about penetrative sex and
therefore definition of rape must include other serious forms of sexual assaults and violence.
Definition of ‘consent’ in Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012 presently implies that if there is
no evidence that the person being sexually violated resisted it will be taken for granted as if theperson gave consent for sexual act of violence to take place. It is important to note that allforms of sexual violence might not necessarily end up with physical injury or harm that can be
proven in court of law. Also the notion of ‘consent’ is between ‘equals’ and in circumstances
under which sexual violence takes place, it is o
ften not a matter of ‘choice’ for those being
In its current form, the Bill does not recognise the structural and graded nature of sexual assault,based on concepts of hurt, harm, injury, humiliation and degradation. The Bill also does not usewell-established categories of sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and sexual offences.
The Bill does not mention sexual assault by security forces as a specific category of aggravatedsexual assault. We strongly recommend the inclusion of perpetration of sexual assault bysecurity forces under Sec 376(2). Security forces enjoy immunity under existing laws and can betried under court martial of Armed Forces but not under this law. Our experience shows howthe State has used varied forms of sexual assault as a means to suppress civil resistance in statesof Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and North-Eastern states. The security forces should not begiven immunity for sexual violence under our laws.
Rape is also a severe form of violence and another form of violence (death sentence) cannot bean effective deterrent. We believe that violence cannot be nipped by violence. We believedeath penalty for perpetrators of sexual violence is neither a deterrent nor an effective orethical response. We need to evolve punishments that act as true deterrents to the very largenumber of men who commit these crimes.