While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday lauded the J.S. Verma committee for preparing in a short time its report on amendments to criminal law required to deal with crime against women, especially sexual assault, and assured it that its recommendations would be pursued promptly, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is still to make public the report as promised by the panel chairman at the time of its release.

Notably, Justice Verma had said the entire report would be uploaded on the MHA website so that people could access it.

But an MHA spokesperson, when contacted, said the report was still being examined and the Ministry would upload it once some action points that needed to be taken to tackle crime against women were ready.

“The report is already there in the public domain through various websites … We are studying it, examining it. The Prime Minister has assured the nation that the government would take prompt action on the report … The government it taking it very seriously,” the spokesperson added.

Lukewarm response

Significantly, Justice Verma has been very critical of the approach of the government machinery to the MHA-appointed committee. The former Chief Justice of India rued that Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde failed to meet the panel even once to discuss the important issue, while the response of various departments concerned was also “lukewarm.” State police chiefs failed to respond to the committee’s letter seeking their suggestions. However, Congress president Sonia Gandhi apologised to Justice Verma for sending suggestions very late, just a day before the report was released.

Meanwhile, government sources said the Cabinet was likely to discuss the report on Thursday. Mr. Shinde would brief Dr. Singh and other colleagues on the report and steps taken by the MHA so far, before chalking out a course of action on basis of the panel recommendations

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