Cabinet to discuss anti-rape bill today

Cabinet to discuss anti-rape bill today

The Cabinet will take up the draft Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill on Thursday after differences among ministries over some contentious issues were sorted out by the group of ministers (GoM) .

The GoM, in a meeting headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday, decided to lower the age for consensual sex to 16 years from the existing 18 years, in consonance with the home ministry’s suggestion.

Law, women and child development, home, telecom and external affairs ministers comprised the GoM that was constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the Cabinet failed to resolve differences among stakeholders in a meeting held on Monday.  
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters outside the finance ministry building in the North block that all issues were resolved.

“I can’t tell all the clauses as the matter has to go to the Cabinet,” Sibal said while refusing to divulge further details.

After the Cabinet clears the Bill, it will be tabled in Parliament so that the existing Criminal Law (Amendment) ordinance can be withdrawn.

The GoM has also decided to retain voyeurism and stalking as other forms of sexual harassment, in adherence to the Justice Verma committee recommendations, albeit with measures to avoid misuse.

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