The Centre has managed to get the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, passed by Parliament in the nick of the time. Rajya Sabha endorsed the anti-rape Bill on Thursday as passed by the Lok Sabha, allowing the government barely enough time to get the assent of the President and notify the Act that will replace the Ordinance that would have otherwise lapsed on Friday (March 22).
But before doing that in a hurry and saving the government’s face, the members extracted the promise that the issue will be discussed thoroughly later, the loopholes removed and a strong and effective legislation put in place.
The House rejected a resolution sponsored by D. Raja (CPI) that the House disapprove the Criminal Law (amendment) Ordinance, 2013 promulgated by the President. Ordinances, he argued, were promulgated in exceptional circumstances and this one could have waited to maintain the supremacy of Parliament.
Moving the Bill, Minister for Home Affairs Sushil Kumar Shinde said no law was final in itself and the government was open to considering the issues raised by the members and accommodating them in due course of time. While expressing his gratitude to the Elders for supporting the government on this sensitive issue, Mr. Shinde explained the urgency for drafting a new law. He said it was the government’s duty to address the widespread concern the December 16 rape incident in Delhi evoked.
BJP’s Najma Heptulla demanded a commitment from the government on a full fledged discussion in Parliament later as members were not given sufficient time to raise their objections to the provisions in the bill. Almost all the speakers underscored their reservations on a number of provisions.
Mr. Shinde said the law would impact the society for years to come. The objective was to protect the dignity and rights of women. He assured Jaya Bachchan (SP) that the provisions were not anti-male while thanking her for the lone woman’s voice in this regard.