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‘Law’s name after girl not good idea’

‘Law’s name after girl not good idea’
Amid demands for naming a revised anti-rape law after the Delhi gangrape victim, legal experts Thursday said it may not be a good idea.

Senior lawyer M S Khan said, ‘Law cannot be named after a victim. Provisions for punishment for rape are enlisted under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The government can only amend the sentence for the offence, it cannot enact a separate law on rape.’

Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor suggested that the revised anti-rape laws be named after the victim if her parents had no objection.

Lawyer Rebecca John said there was no provision allowing the naming of a law after a person but there was no law restricting it either. ‘As a lawyer and legal thinker, I oppose a move of this kind,’ she said.

‘In the event of the death (of a rape victim), if the next of kin agree, her name can be publicised. Here, next of kin have said they have no problem. So, my legal response is that there is no prohibition.’ The family of the 23-year-old who died in Singapore has said they have no objection if a new anti-rape law is named after her.

Opposing the proposal, John said, ‘However gruesome the incident, I don’t think a set of laws which seek to put in place a better response to such situations should be named after a victim.’

The anti-rape laws are presently incorporated in the IPC and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

A panel headed by former chief justice J S Verma is collecting suggestions to amend these laws to make them stronger.

Lawyer Monica Arora said naming the new laws after the victim may lead to political misuse of such a provision.

‘If it happens now, it will be a populist stand which will create problem in future,’ Arora said. ‘What is important is not the name... Speedy justice through fast track courts should be ensured,’ she said.


SCRIBES WAIT LONG AT SAKET COURT

A large contingent of media persons and lawyers waited for almost the whole day Thursday for Delhi Police to file the charge sheet in the 16 December gangrape and death of a physiotherapy intern.

The chargesheet was finally filed by police around 5.40 pm. The courtroom in the south Delhi’s Saket district courts complex and its corridor was jampacked throughout the day as 50 Indian journalists and 4-5 international correspondents, including those from the New York Times, waited for hours through the day.

There was a brief commotion around 5.15 pm when a court staff said that the magistrate before whom the charge sheet was earlier scheduled to be filed had left for the day. All those who had gathered in and outside the courtroom rushed to another court as the information spread that the set of formal charges was being filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Surya Malik Grover, behind locked doors. A lawyer complained, ‘Why are police filing charge sheet in a closed room?’ After some time, the door was opened and people were allowed to enter the courtroom, till the time judge did not sit.

A lawyer, among others, requested the magstrate not to hold the trial in-camera or at least let lawyers attend the hearing. Outside the courtroom, the Pragatisheel Mahila Sangthan, a women lawyers’ committee, protested, demanding justice for the victim and raised slogans like ‘Unite against patriarchy’.
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