Former HC judge to probe Delhi gang-rape case

Union Cabinet Takes Serious View Of The Issue

ANIL ANAND

New Delhi, Dec 26: In the face of public wrath being faced by the Government after the gang rape of a 23-year old girl in Delhi, Centre on Wednesday announced setting up of a Commission of Inquiry to probe the case. The one-person panel to be comprised of former Delhi High Court judge Justice Usha Mehra will identify lapses and fix responsibility in the case.
The decision to set up the Commission was taken by the Union Cabinet in its meeting held here on Wednesday. The panel will also suggest measures to make Delhi and the National Capital Region safer for women. It will submit its report within three months.
The Cabinet took the decision after it was briefed by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on the December 16 incident that shocked the nation and triggered widespread protests. Many ministers attending the meeting expressed serious concern on the incident and demanded that the Government should take all possible measures to instill a sense of safety and confidence among women.
Announcing the Cabinet decision before the media-persons, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram appealed to public to “believe” that steps are being taken to find lasting solution to the “problem that has plagued all metropolitan cities.” Sharing public anger over the brutal incident, Chidambaram said it was a “matter of shame” that the incident happened in Delhi and the Central government has special responsibility.
The Commission will be in addition to the three-member Committee headed by former Chief Justice of India JS Verma which is to suggest amendments in law to provide for quicker trial and more stringent punishment in “aggravated sexual assault” cases amid demands for death penalty.
“It is a shame. As a man, I feel ashamed. All of you here in this room should also feel ashamed. Why do men behave like this? We acknowledge the public anger and recognize it,” Chidambaram said.
Referring to the setting up of the Inquiry Commission and the Justice Verma Committee, the Finance Minister said the government has “serious intent” to address the broader issue of security of women in the country and provide for more stern punishment for such crimes.
“There are three parts to what we are doing,” he said, while noting that the government was working on ensuring punishment to the guilty, find out what went wrong and amend laws dealing with crimes against women to provide for more stern penalty and faster trials.
He said courts also must help by fast-tracking such cases as there has been huge pendency.
Chidambaram said the developments of last one week showed a “new phenomenon” of “flash mobs” resorting to protests and the government was not fully prepared to deal with such situations.
“Lessons have been learnt,” said the former Home Minister, adding new standard operating procedures (SOPs) will need to be devised to deal with such situations.
To a question, Chidambaram said the changes in law that could take place in the future would not apply to the December 16 case as such amendments apply with prospective effect only.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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