PM hopes Par will quickly pass comprehensive law to deal with crimes against wom

Terming rise in cases of sexual violence against women as a "matter of shame", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today hoped Parliament would "urgently" pass amendments to strengthening criminal laws in this regard.

"It is indeed a matter of shame that, notwithstanding the gains we have made, incidents of violence and sexual offences against women are on the increase," he said at a function to confer the Indira Gandhi Prize on social worker Ela Bhatt.

The government had adopted a mix of legislative, institutional and procedural reforms to deal with increasing sexual crimes against women, Singh said.

"The recommendations of the Justice J S Verma Committee have resulted in the promulgation of an ordinance, amending and strengthening the criminal law to deal with sexual offences against women," he said.

"It is our hope that Parliament will urgently pass the necessary legislation to enact a comprehensive law in this regard," Singh said.

He said the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012 has been passed by the Lok Sabha and was awaiting passage in the Rajya Sabha.

The schemes aimed at giving restorative justice to victims of rape through financial assistance and support services, a national helpline for women and a 'One Stop Crisis Centre' in 100 public hospitals under the aegis of the National Mission for Empowerment of Women were also under consideration of the government, the Prime Minister said.
"Our endeavor to create an environment of security in which women can pursue their dreams will be a continuous effort, pursued jointly with civil society organizations," he said.

Former Chief Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said the Section 24 must be read in accordance with definition of 'information' and the Right to Information given under the transparency law.

According to RTI Act, 'information' is any material in any form held by or under the control of a public authority.

He said the section says "the information (any material in any form held by or under the control of a public authority) pertaining to allegations of corruption does not come under exemptions given to security and intelligence agencies".

Tiwari said when an information seeker applies for the information pertaining to alleged corruption, it can be disclosed.

CBI has pleaded before the High Court that its primary job is to probe corruption cases and disclosing information about them would make the exemption given to agency infructuous.

In his order, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra had clarified the point saying RTI Act neither makes distinction between the exempted organisations on the basis of the functions they perform nor between allegations of corruption on the basis whether it is made against the employees of the exempt organisation or others.

RTI activist Subhash Agrawal cited a Madras High Court order in a case of Directorate of Vigilance and Anti- Corruption (an exempted organisation of Tamil Nadu Government similar to CBI) Vs R Karthikeyan and V Madhav where it ordered disclosure of information related to corruption.

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