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Govt rejects Parliament session demand

New Delhi: Amid demands by the opposition for convening of a special session of Parliament to pass stringent laws on crime against women, government on Monday said the decision could be taken after Justice Verma Committee, set up for the purpose, submits its recommendations.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said here that a special session will make sense after the government receives the report of the three-member committee, headed by Justice J S Verma, former Chief Justice of India.

"We have appointed the Justice Verma Committee to recommend to the government what changes should be made in the law. Therefore, a special session or a session of Parliament makes sense only when the report is received by the government...So let us first get the report and then we can examine when the session of Parliament should be," he told reporters here.

The committee was set up on December 23 with a mandate to review the present statute so as to provide for speedier justice and enhanced punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault. The committee has to submit its report in 30 days.

Chidambaram said a special session is mainly for passing a law. "We have to pass a more effective law both for apprehending people and punishing people and for the procedural aspects," he said.

Opposition parties, including BJP and the Left, have been demanding a special session of Parliament to discuss the present rape laws and passing measures which could serve as deterrent in commission of crimes against women.

The demand was made after a 23-year-old girl was gang-raped and brutalised in a moving bus here on December 16. She died in a Singapore hospital on Saturday and was cremated on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is writing letters to all political parties asking them to send their suggestions on the issue of laws relating to crimes against women to the Verma Committee. Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said the government was awaiting the report of Verma Committee before taking any decision on convening an all-party meeting to discuss the rape law issue.

"We are awaiting for the Verma Committee report. Decision on convening an all-party meeting will be taken only after we get the Verma Committee report," he said.

(Agencies)

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