Panel say death penalty won’t stop rapes

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India needs to implement existing laws, not introduce tougher punishment, to prevent rape, a panel set up to review legislation has said, following the gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus that led to her death last December.

Panel head, justice JS Verma, rejected the idea of the death penalty for rape cases. “Even women’s groups opposed this,” he ruled.

The report said the case had revealed “officials’ low and skewed priority of dealing with complaints of sexual assault”.

“Failure of good governance is the root cause for the current unsafe environment, eroding the rule of law and not the want of knee-jerk legislation,” he added.