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Fear in criminal minds can only be created through time-bound disposal of rape cases: Gul Panag

IBNLive.com
Mar 11, 2013 at 06:46pm IST

Is the govt sponsored anti-rape Bill good enough? Activist and former Miss India Gul Panag joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. It may or may not be good. But it is a start. People should strive to make it more efficient in the times to come. What say? Asked by: Karthik

Fear in criminal minds can only be created through time-bound disposal of rape cases: Gul Panag

Is the govt sponsored anti-rape Bill good enough?

A. I agree it's a start. But amending the IPC without altering Procedural Law and implementation, will have little value.

Q. With the kind of law enforcement mechanism in India, do you think it is even meaningful to pass such bills? Asked by: Angry young man

A. Well, a start needs to be made and this is a start.

Q. Why is Govt so lenient towards rapists? Asked by: Numaan

A. I don't think any government is lenient with rapists. The implementation and execution of Law though is clearly lacking. We have low conviction rates across most crimes sadly.

Q. Do you think that by making anti-rape bill hence further there will no rape in the country? Asked by: shriprasad

A. This is not an anti rape bill. This is a bill that seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure. And I believe that we are a long way from ensuring that rapes will be prevented through this Bill or any subsequent one, unless and until time bound disposal of cases is not made mandatory.

Q. Do you think we should have a separate body to deal with crimes against women, and staffed by women? Asked by: Gul

A. I believe the judiciary should be gender neutral. That is the essence of Rule of Law. Unfortunately in India we find that the patriarchal attitudes of society find their way into the implementation of the Law. Given that the law hardly has any deterrence value( we are the same people who break traffic signlas with impunity), fast track cases with a mandate for time bound disposal will increase conviction rates and strengthen prevention mechanism.

Q. Should the government have also included issues like marital rape in its purview? Asked by: Kamya

A. Absolutely. It is unfortunate that marital rape is not part of the Draft. Proof of the Patriachy in our society. Again.

Q. What's your take "Juvenile can rape but can't be punished"? Asked by: Ajeetpanigrahi

A. Unfortunate. This where I believe there is a conflict Reducing the age until which an individual is a juvenile may be a solution.

Q. Can this law be efficient in preventing Rapes or at least creating a fear amongst those criminal minds? Asked by: Ajeetpanigrahi

A. Fear among criminal minds can only be created through time bound disposal of cases which will result in a higher conviction rate thus increasing the deterrent value of the Law. The most stringent of Laws instill no fear if you know you won't be convicted,or if the case will carry on long enough for you to find an escape route.

Q. Why don't anyone in India talk about the justice with the 60 women of Kashmir who were gangraped by security forces of India in 1991? Asked by: Numaan

A. I don't think there is an attempt to not talk about it. Women in India are sexually assaulted everywhere from Kashmir, to Kanyakumari. There are women across India who have been violated by security forces. The new Law proposes to make it tougher for men in Uniform to get away with sexual crimes.

Q. What changes do you like to see in the existing law to be an able deterrent against rape? Asked by: Dr. Arijit Bhattacharjee

A. A change in subtantive Law needs to be followed by changes in Procedural Law. Things like the 2 finger test need to be done away with. Marital rape needs to be an offense.

Q. What are your views on the subject of influence of obscene songs, movies or media on the general behavioural shift of society? And to what extent these channels have the responsibility here? Asked by: Suneet Solanki

A. On one hand it can be argued that cinema mirrors society, that people(men) like and want to see these raunchy titillating songs. However on the other hand, does Bollywood need to give it a stamp of approval that validates the commoditification of women? Perhaps not.

Q. What measures is our government taking to stop crime and barbarity against women. Asked by: Athar

A. Regret, I am unable to speak on behalf of the Government:)

Q. When the Justice Verma committee report is so well done and comprehensive what exactly in the govt's interest in watering it down? cant they bring it into law as it is - when it has been prepared so diligently and debated so thoroughly - something which the govt will never do itself. Asked by: c4conscience

A. Because it is just a report with no statutory powers, sadly. And what the government does, should do, is something we need to put pressure on the persons you and I elected, and sent to Parliament to get done. How many of us actually got to our MP?

Q. After Delhi incident same cases happened again and again. Don't you think because of lack of strong Indian laws people don't care...? Asked by: rajeray

A. Yes Laws could be more stringent. But even the existing law is not implemented! Rape cases are happening because the Law has lost its deterrent value. Without time bound disposal of cases( and penalties on Public Servants in the event of that not happening) any Law is just a piece of paper.

Q. Is the any way, that women can feel more secure in India? Can you share some tips? Asked by: amita

A. I think women in India need to be more assertive and participatory in society. They need to fight for their rights. A fight that can only be fought and sustained if they are educated, empowered and financially independent. We should encourage our sisters ,mothers, wives to speak their minds and have an independent mind.

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