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New bill to treat rape, abuse at par


Pallavi Ghosh,CNN-IBN
Jan 06, 2010 at 11:18pm IST

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New Delhi: Taking a lesson from the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, the Government is working on a new law called sexual offences (special courts) law to provide quick justice to victims of sexual abuse.

Government sources reveal that it plans to put both rape and sexual abuse at par, making punishment stringent for both.

The sexual offences (special courts) bill is almost finalised and is awaiting a Cabinet nod.

The new law proposes:

  • Sexual abuse is defined to include not just physical but also mental harassment. Punishment for both to be similar.
  • Sexual abuse to be treated on par as rape, which means punishment for both to be equally stringent. Until now, maximum punishment for sexual abuse is one year.
  • Onus to prove that suicide was not due to sexual harassment lies with the accused.
  • All cases of sexual harassment to be dealt with special courts and cleared within 6 months to a year.

Law Minister Veerappa Moily said, “All those people who conspired or abeted in the offence will have to be lined up as accused. That is how the case has to be shown as a model case for the entire world.”

However, the question is whether the sexual abuse bill will be enough to fight for justice for the many Ruchikas?

It remains to be seen whether Ruchika will finally get justice but the Government certainly wants to send out a message through this law that it wants to get tough on cases of sexual abuse.

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