The JS Verma Committee report

The Justice JS Verma Commitee on Amendments to Criminal Law within 29 days, reviewed over 70,000 suggestions and published a 630 page report containing recommendations on a new legislation against sexual violence. Further, within another ten days, the government has promulgated an ordinance, accepting the recommendations in part. Critically, the committee observes –

Failure of good governance is the obvious root cause for the current unsafe environment eroding the rule of law, and not the want of needed legislation. If there was a felt need for more laws, there are many recommendations of expert bodies and judicial decisions that remain unimplemented. The Law Commission’s 84th Report in 1980 and its 172nd Report of 2000 relating to this subject, the National Police Commission Reports recommending autonomy and seminal improvement in the quality of the police force,
which is the principal machinery for the maintenance of law and order, continue to gather dust for decades due to the apathy of all the political dispensations. The Supreme Court’s judgment of 2006 in Prakash Singh’s case giving certain directions for the autonomy and improving the quality of the police force remain to be implemented by all the governments. Action in this behalf does not brook any further delay, if there is a genuine desire to honour the purpose of constituting this Committee.

Unfortunately, the ordinance being promulgated hardly addresses any of the issues above, avoiding those recommendations made by the committee – demanding increased responsibility from public servants, greater accountability from policemen and armed forces, etc. This was an opportunity for a transformation in our justice system, but has instead become another example of a small shifty sideways step…


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