Justice Verma Recommendations

As the country woke up to the menace of crimes against women in the wake of the horrendous gang rape in Delhi last month, a review of the laws concerning women was very essential. Former Chief Justice of India Justice J S Verma-headed commission to review the existing laws safeguarding women and suggest recommendations has done a good job in a very short span of time. Its observation that blanket immunity provided to armed forces under extra-constitutional laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu & Kashmir and some north-eastern states contribute to women’s vulnerability to rapes and mistreatment is significant. Equally important is its recommendation to re-think such laws and even abrogate them for the interest of women’s dignity, safety and security in Jammu & Kashmir. What has added strength and credibility to Justice Verma Commission’s stand is the observation made by the Planning Commission in the 12th Plan document that women in conflict areas remain vulnerable to abuse. Justice Verma’s observations and recommendations concerning AFSPA immunity and vulnerability of women have been widely welcomed in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere where people share the belief that such immunity is unhelpful and not in the spirit of democratic accountability. This environment had given rise to hopes that the government may at last think seriously in terms of taking a re-look at AFSPA and listen to the widespread clamour for its abrogation. Such hopes seem to have been dashed by the latest statement of the Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar to a news channel in which he sought to link the debate with the armed forces’ actions carried out “in the line of duty.” Such thinking is immensely unhelpful in establishing credibility of the rule of law in Jammu & Kashmir. This approach sounds very unlawful and also runs counter to the sanctity of the democratic project that is sought to be established in Jammu & Kashmir.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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