Justice JS Verma, who submitted a report on laws on sexual crimes to the government on Wednesday, speaks to NDTV about the task assigned to him and how he was able to complete it within the stipulated time period. Below are the highlights of his interview:
On the judiciary
- You need the right people to frame tougher laws
- Mr Chidambaram approached me. Obviously, it must have been at the behest of the Prime Minister. PM's authority must outweigh what individual minister thinks.
- Is the government is unable to act, it is exposing itself to criticism on its lack of capacity to govern.
- If I can do it without any infrastructure, why can't the PM, with all the facilities, do it?
- 15 years have passed from the time the constitutional validity of AFSPA was upheld. When I was in the NHRC, there were complaints from women in Kashmir and North-East.
- Sexual assault is much worse than taking bribes.
- I feel sorry for anyone defending the need for sanction to prosecute.
- Review necessary in places where insensitive people are holding a high office (DGPs).
- You do not make laws for a particular case, you make laws for general application.
- All the women's groups, with whom we interacted, unanimously said no to the death penalty and no to castration.
- Creating a new offence
- Life imprisonment is stricter and certainly not irreversible like death penalty.
- Look at the practical aspect; we have to provide another machinery to monitor this.
On juvenile age:
- Shocking to see what children go through in juvenile homes.
- Society is responsible for their abnormality.
- We can't focus on a single case and make a general law. There will be exceptions.
- As long as you need to have a cut-off date, you will have some falling on this side of the line and some on the other.
- Police has to focus more on prevention - we have tried to make suggestions for eradication of root cause of the malady.
- We have not spared the judiciary
- Whenever there are large delays, crimes increase
- Every court should be a fast track court
- Judges who do not perform should go
- Sitting judges should deal with current cases (cases in past one year) and ensure that cases don't remain pending.
- Increase the age of retirement for everyone - from judges to peon.
- Increase the working hours in courts.