Government defends ordinance, says it's first step

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) The government Monday defended its decision to come out with an ordinance on sexual assault, saying it has an open mind to other suggestions that might follow.

"The ordinance is the first step in the making of law," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manoj Tewari told the media here.

"If there are objections, the government will look into them with a positive framework and take into consideration whatever is necessary," the minister said.

The clarification came a day after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his approval to the ordinance despite appeals from women's groups to wait till there was a broader consenus on issues related to women's safety.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram added to the theme, saying there were "difficult issues" arising out of the suggestions made by the panel headed by former Supreme Court chief justice J.S. Verma.

"There will be ample opportunities when the issue is debated," he said.

He said the government had tried to act promptly after Verma's recommendations came in, and issued the ordinance Friday on the basis of a "broad consensus".

"On other issues, we will work for a broader consensus... As I understand, nothing has been rejected."


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