The Justice Verma Committee today recommended enhancing punishment of up to 20 years imprisonment for rape and murder and life for gang rape but refrained from suggesting death penalty.
The three-member Committee headed by former Chief Justice J S Verma submitted its 630-page report to the Government suggesting amendment of criminal laws to provide for higher punishment to rapists, including those belonging to police and public servants.
New offences have been created and stiffer punishment has been suggested for those committing it like leaving the victim in a vegetative state. The new offences include disrobing a woman, voyeurism, stalking and trafficking.
The present law provides for punishment for rapists of imprisonment ranging from seven years to life.
The panel, which was constituted in the wake of national outrage over the December 16 gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi in which one of the accused six is said to be a juvenile, however, is of the opinion that the age of the juvenile under the Juvenile Justice Act need not be lowered from the present 18.
There has been strong demand that the age of a juvenile should be brought down to 16 in view of the fact that the minor accused in the Delhi gang-rape allegedly behaved in the most brutal way.
Releasing the report, Justice Verma told a news conference that the Committee has not suggested death penalty for rapist because there was overwhelming suggestions from the women organisations against it.