New Delhi: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has assured various political parties that the government has given "anxious consideration" to the need for reviewing laws for speedier justice and enhanced punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault, officials said.
The assurance came in his letter urging the parties to send their views on the issue to the Justice JS Verma Committee, said official sources, adding the letter was signed by Shinde Monday and later sent to leaders of political parties.
Shinde wrote that the government had set up a committee under the chairmanship of the former chief justice of India to look into the possible amendments to the criminal law so as to provide for quicker trial and punishment for criminals, accused of committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women.
The letter said that the committee has been made fully operational and has already issued public notice inviting suggestions from people, eminent jurists, legal professionals, women's groups and civil society members.
Justice Verma, Shinde said, has also written to all the chief ministers seeking their views on the issue and could be reached at telephone number 23022031. The views can also be e-mailed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, he added.
"I shall be grateful if you could forward your views on the issue to the committee so that it can consider them while making their recommendations. I would urge you to communicate your views as early as possible as the committee has been asked to finalise its recommendations early," Shinde said in the letter.
The Justice Verma panel was constituted by the government December 23 in the wake of public outrage over gang-rape of a girl in a moving bus in the capital. The girl died in a Singapore hospital early Saturday.
The panel has been asked to finalise its recommendations in a month.