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Regarding Disapproval of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 and Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013

Type of Debate:               STATUTORY RESOLUTION AND GOVERNMENT BILL

Title:      Discussion on the Statutory Resolution regarding Disapproval of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 and Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 (Statutory Resolution negatived and Government Bill passed).

Date:     19-03-2013

 

Mr. Chairman, Sir, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak.

I rise today to support the Bill. I would like to congratulate and thank the hon. Minister who has brought this Bill into Parliament today. I have heard all the speakers and my esteemed colleagues in Parliament and I must say that in a House, where women are a minority and the men are the majority, I have to congratulate all the gentlemen here, who in spite of putting in their apprehensions while debating and discussing, have overall supported the Bill. I take this opportunity to thank each and every one.

 

          Many have said that this issue has come very late, but I think it has come at a time when it is much needed. We talk about the Nirbhaya case, but it is not just the Nirbhaya case; it is not just what happened in Delhi; it is something that is happening everyday in this country, not just in Delhi, not just in Mumbai, not just in Madhya Pradesh, but in every State.

          When we look at rape, there are certain facts and figures which come in the newspapers or televisions and are reported, but there are thousands of cases which go unreported. I think, with this ordinance, we will be able to address so many issues. We talk about misuse of laws. I want to ask the House today which law has not ever been misused. When we talk about a law, we talk about a law which is for the majority of the people so that the majority of the people are benefited out of that law. Yes, there will be a few that will misuse this law, but the effect will be for the majority. Then, it is up to us to see that this law trickles down to where it is needed, that is, to the most vulnerable people of the society.

          I come from a very urban populous. I am a representative of Mumbai, but I see that India is a very large and very diverse country and what is good for an urban city may not be good for the rural part of India, but with rapid urbanisation, I can very proudly say that today we see women who are more literate, women who are coming into the cities to be educated, women who are coming from various States into the cities for jobs. We need to ensure the safety of these women.

It is because when these women are safe, they will encourage the ones who would have never dreamt of this to dream once again. This is what we need for our women today.

I come from the city, which is a cosmopolitan city. People from all over the State are in Mumbai -- young girls studying; young girls traveling by train; many single girls living in rented apartments; and our greatest fear is … (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN : Madam, please stop for a while. Please sit down.

Hon. Members, I have seven more speakers to speak on this Bill. If the House agrees, the time for the discussion may be extended by one hour including the hon. Minister’s reply.

SEVERAL HON. MEMBERS : Yes, Sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mrs. Priya, please continue your speech and kindly conclude now.

SHRIMATI PRIYA DUTT : There are certain issues -- when you talk about implementation of laws -- which I feel have to be looked at in our country through police reforms and through judicial reforms.

When we talk about Police for a population of 1.2 billion, we do not have enough Police force. We have 130 Police personnel for a lakh of population, which is not enough. They are the first ones to implement this law. When you talk about the Fast Track Courts, we do not have enough courts and we do not have enough judges. So, these are the issues till the time we do not address them we will have many laws like this, which will not be implemented.

 

This is a great step forward, but we have to look at issues of how we address a victim when she comes to file the First Information Report (FIR). Many a time, their FIRs are also not being filed. She has to approach an atmosphere, which is not conducive. She has just been abused and raped, and yet she goes into a Police Station where a man is interrogating her. So, I feel that there are lots of things, which we have to approach like make it more women-oriented and make it more comfortable for women to be able to go and lodge a complaint.

I have also to congratulate the Justice Verma Committee who have given very very good suggestions and the Charter of Demands for the safety of women, which I know will be taken up later. I look at this House and I look at our Government to take up a lot of these issues in the future.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mrs. Priya.

SHRIMATI PRIYA DUTT : Sir, I just want to say one more thing. One of our colleagues also said that there is a provision for women, especially, children who have been sexually abused and also incensed, which is not reflected in the Ordinance. Most of the rapes that happen, happen at home by known people and by people within the home. How are we going to address this? This needs to be reflected in this Bill. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity and thank you so much.