Imprisonment up to 30 years for rape convicts has been proposed by the Congress in a draft bill for a tougher law to check crimes against women which could also include chemical castration in rare cases.
The final draft of the Congress' bill, which is to be submitted to the Justice J S Verma-led Committee set up by the Centre in the wake of the horrific gang-rape of the 23-year-old girl, who died yesterday, has however not been readied yet, sources said today.
Some of the provisions of this tougher law which includes imprisonment up to 30 years for rape convicts and setting up of fast track-courts to decide the cases within 3 months and were discussed in the presence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on December 23 when she met a group of people protesting against the gang-rape incident a week earlier.
There is also a suggestion to re-define the Juveniles Act and lower their age.
One of the accused in the ghastly rape case, who inflicted maximum brutality on the victim, is a juvenile and aged a few months less than 18 years. A view has been expressed by a section that only those below 15 years should be described as juvenile.
Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, which has framed and helped frame many a landmark legislations like RTI, is likely to be involved in the whole exercise.
Sources said the Women and Child Development Ministry, headed by Krishna Tirath, held a marathon meeting with stakeholders on this issue on Friday during which several suggestions have been made.
The ministry will prepare a summary of the suggestions received and will submit it to the Justice Verma-headed three-member committee set up to review existing laws and make recommendations for changes in them to effectively check crimes against women.
"There is no government draft till now. The summary that we submit to the J S Verma Committee will be the first written document on which the new law will be based," sources said.
At the meeting with the protestors at her 10 Janpath residence, Gandhi had favoured fast track courts for trying rape cases with a 90-day cap while party spokesperson Renuka Chowhdary made a strong pitch for chemical castration to rape convicts. Chowdhary such a punishment is already in vogue in various countries and that it had a deterrent effect, sources said.
Chemical castration as an alternate punishment for rape accused was mooted perhaps for the first time in India by the then Judge of the Supreme Court Justice V R Krishna Iyer in 1979.
In one of his judgements he had reportedly said that willing castration is a "better recipe for this hypersexed human than outright death."
Recently, an additional sessions judge in Delhi had suggested castration for rape convicts.
While delivering a judgement, Kamini Lau had supported a debate with regard to imposition of castration (both surgical and chemical) as an alternative punishment for the offence of rape and molestation.