As parties remain sceptical, will govt let anti-rape ordinance lapse?
Posted on: 08:16 AM IST Feb 22, 2013
New Delhi: Angry voices and outrage following the brutal Delhi gangrape case was enough to have jolted the government to rush in with an ordinance on sexual assault. However, this political urgency may amount to nothing and the ordinance may not become a law any time soon. That's because our politicians are wary of the proposed anti-rape law.
Sources say that at a meeting with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Thursday, few MPs raised doubts about some of its provisions. Parties like Samajwadi Party and the RJD felt that including stalking could be misused by opponents. They argued that sexual harassment at workplace could be misused too. Voyeurism is again a matter of interpretation and some objected to this as well. The Left wanted changes to the AFSPA and marital rape be incorporated.
The government is likely to allow the ordinance to lapse as there is no consensus. It will try to buy time by referring it to the standing committee.
In fact many political parties have cited the PJ Kurien example to push their point. The main parties, the BJP and the Congress, want the bill to be passed in its present form.
Even if the ordinance falls, the government will take the high moral ground for having moved towards a tougher gender law. However, it's surprising that the political class is completely out of sync with the national mood.