Amend IPC, widen sexual assault definition, says BJP

Sexual offences that do not count as rape should not be merely classified as outrage of a woman’s modesty, but instead be regarded as unlawful sexual contact, the BJP has suggested.

In its recommendations to the Justice Verma committee, set up after the Dec 16 gang-rape of a physiotherapy student in Delhi, the main opposition has suggested to amend the Indian Penal Code to include varying degrees of sexual assaults from lewd remarks to the unauthorised contact and asked for appropriate punishments to each of them along with charges of rape.  “A new provision, section 376E should be added to the Indian Penal Code where “unlawful sexual contact” is also recognized as an offence as recommended by the 172 Law Commission Report,” BJP president Nitin Gadkari suggested in his letter dispatched to Justice JS Verma panel on Wednesday.

He asked the committee to include the eight guidelines the Supreme Court had given in 1995 for making rape laws more effective, including changing the definition of rape to ‘sexual assault’ so that the offence canvas could become wider from mere penetration.

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