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Cabinet divided over anti-rape bill, GoM to solve issue
March 13, 2013
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NEW DELHI: Amid differences of opinion in the cabinet over the proposed anti-rape law, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday expressed confidence that the government will resolve the issue by Thursday and secure parliamentary approval for the legislation by March 22.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has also called an all-party meet on March 18 to discuss the bill.

He has already spoken to BJP, SP and BSP leaders over the issue, said sources.

There is a sense of urgency in passing the law by March 22 as the bill will replace an ordinance promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee on Feb.3 and has to be passed within six weeks from that date.

The first half of the budget session ends March 22 and the house will reconvene on April 22.

The issue has been in sharp focus after the brutal assault and gangrape of a woman in Delhi on Dec.16, 2012.

She succumbed to her injuries on Dec.29 in Singapore.

As differences of opinion prevailed among ministers at a special cabinet meeting called to pass the bill, the government decided to refer the legislation to a Group of Ministers (GoM) to resolve the issue.

“The GoM meetings will be held soon. We are confident that the issue will be resolved by Thursday. We will pass the bill by March 22,” Shinde told reporters.

According to informed sources, the points of disagreement over the bill relate to provisions making it gender neutral, lowering the age of juvenile criminals from 18 to 16 besides provisions prescribing punishment for stalking and voyeurism.

Indo-Asian News Service

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