Government lacks will for strong anti-rape law: Activists


New Delhi : Women’s rights activist Tuesday criticised the government for failing to finalise an anti-rape law after difference erupted between various ministries on several ordinances and accused them of lacking political will to bring a stronger law for protection of women.

Support TwoCircles

The proposed anti-rape bill was referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM) Tuesday following differences of opinion among cabinet ministries over certain provisions, including lowering the age of juveniles.

The activists allege the government’s lack intention to bring a stringent law for violence against women, which could empower women particularly against sexual violence.

“They are again reopening ordinances which were already deliberated upon. This is dismaying. It is apparent that there are voices within the government, who are against bringing a stronger law,” Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women’s Association said.

Terming it “unfortunate”, Krishnan’s said the government was still rethinking upon the simple ordinance like stalking and voyeurism.

“A stringent law against stalking and voyeurism will be a better deterrent against rape and yet they are still debating it,” she said.

Krishnan’s views were also echoed by rights lawyer Vrinda Grover.

“It is a very sad. The government does not have a political will to bring a stronger anti-rape law. There seem to be a political class within the government that does not want a stronger law,” she said.

Accusing the government to trying to bring a weak anti-rape law, Grover said: “First they pass an ordinance and within a month, they are rethinking about it. Why do they have to rethink? Clearly the political class of our country, particularly the government, wants to bring a weak anti-rape law.”

Lawyer Rebecca John, while expressing dismay, said: “I don’t know why a matter as important as protection of women has become a controversial thing in our country. Difference within the ministers on something as right as this is a reflection that the mindset of our governance needs to change. The malice in our system is deeper than it seems.”

However, welcoming the governments decision to refer the bill to the GoM, Tripti Tandon of Lawyers Collective said there were several ordinances in the bill which were contentious and needed a re-look.

“I think it a good thing. There were several points like lowering the age or the provision of death penalty, which are very contentious. It was wise to refer it to GoM,” she said.