Ordinance reflects sense of urgency: Salman Khurshid

New Delhi, Feb 3 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has justified the government's decision to issue an ordinance on sexual violence against women, saying views of the Justice J S Verma Committee and the public in general were that something needed to be done with a sense of urgency.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event here yesterday, Khurshid said: "All you can do is that when Parliament is not in session, we can promulgate an ordinance. It does not mean that widespread consultations cannot take place when the actual bill is brought in Parliament."

"I am sure that vivid organisations and all political parties will come together for widespread consultations. With all the sensitivity, this area of law I think requires from all of us and then an updated Bill will come to the parliament. But this is in response to the sense of urgency that has been felt," he said.

"And, I think, we should recognise that urgency that a lot of young people have also wanted. But the content will not be the content that we do not have the maximum consensus on by the time we actually get into the parliament to pass the bill that will replace the ordinance," he added.

The government on Friday had approved the ordinance to introduce stringent punishment for crimes against women.

Earlier, various women's rights activist crtitized the government for omitting some crucial issues like marital rape, and reviewing some sections of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Power Act), saying it had selectively accepted the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee.

Terming the ordinance as a betrayal, activists alleged that the government had ignored the key recommendations of the Verma commission that could have empowered women in the fight against sexual violence.

They contended that the ordinance is silent on the recommendation to bar politicians facing charges of sexual offences from contesting elections.

The Justice Verma Committee had suggested that marital rape should be made an offence, a key demand of women's rights activists. It also observed that sexual violence was being legitimised under AFSPA and suggested that such crimes by members of the armed forces be tried under ordinary criminal law. (ANI)

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