#RIP- Justice JS Verma, who headed the anti-rape law panel, no more

Edited by Amit Chaturvedi | Updated: April 22, 2013 22:53 IST

Justice JS Verma, who headed the anti-rape law panel, dies

New DelhiFormer Chief Justice of India Justice Jagdish Sharan Verma, who headed a three-member panel to examine laws on crimes against women, died today due to multiple organ failure. He was 80.The new anti-rape law passed by Parliament in March incorporates some of the recommendations made by the Justice Verma Commission. The panel of Justice Verma, Justice Leila Seth and Gopal Subramaniam was set up in the aftermath of the December 16 gang-rape of a medical student in Delhi last year.

The Verma Commission put together its report in just 29 days. Justice Verma had urged the government to match his team’s commitment by implementing the changes urgently.

He was honoured at NDTV‘s Indian of the Year Awards on April 15 for fighting for justice for the Indian woman.


#India- Don’t allow armymen to take over under #AFSPA #Vermacommission #Vaw

Don’t allow Armymen to take cover under AFSPA, says Verma


Former Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S. Verma, flanked by Justice (retd.) Leila Seth, the former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court (left) and Gopal Subramaniam, former Solicitor- General of India, addresses the media after submitting a report to suggest tougher laws for crimes against women, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sudershan
The HinduFormer Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S. Verma, flanked by Justice (retd.) Leila Seth, the former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court (left) and Gopal Subramaniam, former Solicitor- General of India, addresses the media after submitting a report to suggest tougher laws for crimes against women, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sudershan

“Personnel guilty of sexual offences in conflict areas should be tried under ordinary criminal law”

The Justice J.S. Verma Committee, set up to suggest amendments to laws relating to crimes against women, has recommended review of the continuance of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the context of extending legal protection to women in conflict areas.

“There is an imminent need to review the continuance of the AFSPA and AFSPA-like legal protocols in internal conflict areas as soon as possible,” it said. “This is necessary for determining the propriety of resorting to this legislation in the area(s) concerned.”

In its report submitted to the Union Home Ministry on Wednesday, committee member Gopal Subramaniam said going by the testimonies of the people from Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and the North-East, it was evident that there was a pressing need to try armed forces personnel guilty of sexual offences in conflict areas under the ordinary criminal law.

Taking cognisance of the complaints and reports of sexual assaults on women by men in uniform and the civil society’s demand for repeal of the AFSPA, the committee recommend an immediate resolution of “jurisdictional issues.” Simple procedural protocols must be put in place to avoid situations where the police refuse to register cases against paramilitary personnel.

It cited the Supreme Court’s recent observation that security forces should not be able to take cover under the AFSPA in cases of rape and sexual assault. “Systematic or isolated sexual violence, in the process of Internal Security duties, is being legitimised by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which is in force in large parts of our country,” the committee said.

Stressing that women in conflict areas were entitled to all the security and dignity that was afforded to citizens in any other part of the country, the committee recommended bringing sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel under the purview of ordinary criminal law; taking special care to ensure the safety of women who are complainants and witnesses in cases of sexual assault by the armed forced; and setting up special commissioners for women’s safety and security in all areas of conflict in the country.

The commissioners must be vested with adequate powers to monitor and initiate action and initiate criminal prosecution. Care must be taken to ensure the safety and security of women detainees in police stations, and women at army or paramilitary check points. “This should be a subject under the regular monitoring of the special commissioners mentioned earlier,” the committee said.

It also recommended strict adherence to laws related to detention of women during specified hours of the day. It said measures to ensure their security and dignity would not only go a long way in providing women in conflict areas their rightful entitlements, but also restore their confidence in the administration.


#India- Failure of governance root cause of crimes against women: #Vermacommittee #Vaw

NEW DELHI, January 23, 2013


Justice J.S. Verma committee, set up to recommend measures to improve laws dealing with sexual offences, has received around 80,000 suggestions and wrapped up its work within 29 days.

He said the failure of governance was the root cause of crimes against women. He also said it was “equally shocking” that there was total apathy of everyone who had a duty to perform.

“We have submitted the report in 29 days. When I offered to do the work within 30 days, I did not realise the magnitude of the work,” Justice Verma told a press conference after submitting his voluminous report to the Home Ministry.

Justice Verma, the head of the three-member panel, was approached by the Central government for the task on December 23. The other members of the panel are former Himachal Pradesh Chief Justice Leila Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam.

Highlights of Verma Committee report

Imminnent need to review AFSPA in conflict areas

Sexual offences by armed forces and uniformed men in conflict areas should be brought under ordinary criminal law

Recommends appointment of Special Commissioners with adequate powers to redress complaints of sexual violence against women in conflict areas

Ambiguity over the control of Delhi Police should be cleared

Delhi gang rape case shows the failures of traffic regulations, maintenance of law and order and dealing of sexual assault cases

Every district magistrate should prepare census of missing children

Police action on peaceful Delhi protesters scarred Indian democracy

‘All suggestions considered’

He said the report may be known after him but it is the outcome of suggestions from people within India and outside the country.

“We received 80,000 suggestions,” he said adding all of them were read and considered before finalising the report.

On how he decided on a time frame for finalising the report, Justice Verma said when a senior Cabinet Minister approached him on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he asked him when is the next session of Parliament.

“The Minister told me that the (Budget) session will start on February 21. There were two months. So I decided lets do it in 30 days. If we are able to do it in half the time available, then the government with its might and resources should also act fast,” he said.

He complimented the youth for the mature response.

“Youth has taught us what we, the older generation, were not aware of. I was struck by the peaceful manner in which the protests were carried out…the youth rose to the occasion,” he said.

‘Shocked to see Home Secretary praising Commissioner’

Justice Verma castigated Home Secretary R. K. Singh for his praise of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar in the aftermath of the Delhi gang rape incident, saying he was shocked to hear this when an apology was expected.

“The Commissioner of Police was given a pat on his back by no less than a person holding the post of Home Secretary. I was shocked to see that,” Justice Verma said.

He said the least he would have done was to seek an apology for the failure of the duty to protect citizens and “instead of that (what did we see)“.

Mr. Singh had praised Delhi Police during a press interaction days after the December 16 incident when the force arrested six men allegedly involved in the crime.


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