J.S. Verma Committee Current Affairs - 2020

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Nirbhaya Case Convicts Hanged to Death in Tihar Jail

On March 20, 2020, four convicts of the Nirbhaya Gang Rape were hanged to death in Tihar Jail.

Highlights

In September 2013, a fast track court convicted them with death sentence. Several curative and mercy petitions were filed by them at the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court. In 2017, the Supreme Court upheld death penalty. Recently, in 2020, the Supreme Court refused to take in the petitions.

Article 145

Article 145 of the constitution allows the Supreme Court to frame its own rules. Under the Article, the SC rules its own proceedings, cases handled by the it, transferred to high courts, etc. It has powers to stay proceedings, grant bail, allocate number of judges to sit in a bench, etc.

With this power, the apex court refused to consider the petitions of the accused.

Criminal Law (Amendment) act, 2013

The act was also called Nirbhaya Act. The act made several changes to the punishments of rape and sexual harassment accused. Also, the other laws such as Indian Penal code, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Evidence Act were all amended.

J S Verma Committee

Six days after the Nirbhaya incident GoI constituted a judicial Committee under J S Verma. The judicial changes were made according to the recommendations of the committee.

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Group of Ministers report on legal framework to prevent sexual harassment

On January 19, 2020, the Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister Amit Shah finalized its report to change the legal framework that will help prevent sexual harassment of women at work places.

Highlights

The Group of Ministers was constituted in October 2018 after the “Me Too” campaign. The group was reconstituted under the Home Minster in July 2019. Apart from this, the GoI is also working on a project to change the IPC (Indian Penal Code) that was introduced during British rule in 1860. The ministers have recommended to strengthen the laws.

Referrals of the report

The report is predominantly based on the following

  • Vishaka guidelines issued by Supreme Court in 1997. It is be noted that the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace, 2013 was constituted based on Vishaka guidelines
  • Justice J.S, Verma Committee recommendations. The committee was constituted in the awake of Nirbhaya Gang Rape and murder in 2012
  • Verma Committee-The Committee recommended employment tribunal instead of ICC.

Significance

According to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), in 2017 and 2018, the number of sexual harassments of women at work premises were 479 and 401 respectively. The cases were registered under IPC Section 509 and were highest in cities such as Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru and Mumbai.

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