Critical Analysis of 'Justice Verma Committee Recommendations'

Critical Analysis of ‘Justice Verma Committee Recommendations’

Zeeshan Husain


This Blog is written by Zeeshan Husain from Indore H.R.K. Law College, PilibhitEdited by Ujjawal Vaibhav Agrahari.



Justice Verma Committee was constituted to recommend amendments to the Criminal law so as provide quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The committee submitted its report on January 23, 2013. The other members on the committee were justice Leila Seth, former judge of the high court, and Gopal Subramaniam, former Solicitor General of India.


The three members justice Verma committee was constituted after the horrible ‘Nirbhya‘ gang rape in the national capital. Justice Verma’s committee report could be a milestone against sexual violence and ensuring a safe and secure environment for women in society. it has not only held guilty the rapist but also has raised a question on the police our political system and even to the society for failing to hold the dignity of the women.


The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Nirbhaya Act) is an Indian legislation passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013, which provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences.

Commenced: 3 February 2013


Sexual assault:  Currently, “assault or use of criminal force to a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty” is punishable under Section 354 of the IPC with 2 years imprisonment.  The term outraging the modesty of a woman is not defined in the IPC.  Thus, where penetration cannot be proved, the offence is categorized as defined under Section 354 of the IPC.

The Committee recommended that non-penetrative forms of sexual contact should be regarded as sexual assault.  The offence of sexual assault should be defined to include all forms of non-consensual non-penetrative touching of a sexual nature.  The sexual nature of an act should be determined based on the circumstances.  Sexual gratification as a motive for the act should not be a prerequisite for proving the offence.  The offence should be punishable with 5 years of imprisonment, or fine, or both.


The 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case involved a rape and fatal assault that occurred on 16 December 2012 in Munirka, a neighborhood in South Delhi. The incident took place when Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern, was beatengang-raped, and tortured in a private bus in which she was traveling with her male friend. There were six others in the bus, including the driver, all of whom raped the woman and beat her friend. Eleven days after the assault she was transferred to a hospital in Singapore for emergency treatment but died two days later


Justice Verma Committee was constituted to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. This committee follows the fast process against the crime.


Justice Verma committee made some key recommendations that undoubtedly changed the narrative of sexual violence in India. The report is also one of the first ones to recognize the roots of sexual violence as subversive patriarchy and sexism. Thus, the recommendations made by the Committee post the Nirbhaya rape case marks the paradigm shift in the discourse of sexual violence. This paper aims to outline the landmark recommendations made by the committee and to center them in the feminist ethics framework. The paper will also draw a parallel between the current situation of women in India and the report’s understanding of the same.

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