Indian women’s groups seek tougher laws against sexual assault

Following public outrage over the perceived injustice meted out in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, a group of women’s organisations have demanded a comprehensive legislation to deal with cases of sexual assault and rape.

The organisations, including All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and National Federation of Indian Women, suggested widening the definition of rape and molestation to bring it in conformity with international standards and ensure that there are no legal loopholes.

A delegation led by CPM leader Brinda Karat met law minister M Veerappa Moily to press for speedier trails and procedural changes that would ensure justice was meted out.

“The minister assured us that he would convene a meeting of nodal ministries of home affairs and women and child development to discuss the bill. We have already submitted a comprehensive draft of urgent amendments in the criminal law,” Kirti Singh, AIDWA legal convener, said.

The delegation asked the ministry to introduce various other sections on cases of protracted sexual assault and sexual assault by guardians under the IPC.

Besides Karat, the delegation included Sudha Sundararaman and Kirti Singh (AIDWA), Primila Loomba and Usha Shrivastav (NFIW).

The organisations have urged that the definition of rape should include oral and anal intercourse. They also urged that the law should come down heavily on guardians and those who are responsible for caring for children and are found to be offenders.

The organisations are, however, against making laws gender neutral. “We feel since there are no reported cases where women have been accused of molesting or sexually assaulting men, there is no need for a gender neutral law. It is liable to be misused,” Sundararaman said.


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