Justice Verma submits report on rape law

New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) The Justice J.S. Verma committee, set up to suggest ways to make rape laws stronger in the country, submitted its report Wednesday. The committee was set in the wake of the gruesome gang-rape of a trainee physiotherapist in Delhi last month.

Speaking to reporters later, Justice Verma said he was impressed by the "spontaneous" response of the youth against the Dec 16 gang-rape.

He said it was a "stupendous task" of compiling the report in one month's time and they got response from organisations and students around the world.

"This is just the beginning of the change," he said, adding that he hopes the report will be taken up "seriously" in the coming parliament session.

"Many recommendations made in the past for women have not been implemented. We have perfect laws but they remain ineffective," he added.

He also said that the first step is to stop eve-teasing or sexual harassment and stalking from society.

"It is a serious matter... these practices are tolerated by the society. We need to first deal with the first step as it graduates to sexual assault," he told reporters.

He said he was "struck by the peaceful manner" in which the youth rose to protest the brutal attack on the 23-year-old woman, who was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus. The woman, along with her friend, was later thrown out of the bus - bloodied and without clothes in the cold December night. She died 13 days later in a Singapore hospital.

"It was a spontaneous show of the youth. It was an humbling experience... the youth taught us, the older generation. This is the real hope and the brightest aspect of this entire exercise," said justice Verma, a former chief justice of India and ex-chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.

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