New Delhi, Dec 30 : The Congress is in the process of firming up proposals for a strong law to curb crimes against women, which could include punitive measures like chemical castration for rapists and up to 30 years' jail.

"The proposals are still being firmed up... we want to bring a strong law," said a Congress leader who did not wish to be named. Once finalised, the draft will be submitted to the Justice J.S. Verma Committee, which will suggest changes in existing law to ensure that women are better protected.

The panel was set up by the government after the Dec 16 gang-rape and torture of a 23-year-old woman by six men aboard a bus in Delhi. The brutality of the crime shocked the entire nation. The woman later died of her injuries.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who received the victim's body which was flown in from Singapore Sunday morning, have said that justice will be meted out in a timely manner to the men who committed the crime, and laws will be made more stringent to check atrocities against women.

Gandhi wants fast-track courts to try rape cases and award punishment in three months to ensure speedy justice.

The women and child welfare ministry will submit its recommendations to the Justice Verma panel.

Women activists have been demanding that those above 16 years of age not be considered juvenile when accused of crimes against women. Under the law, those below 18 are considered juvenile.

The only minor among the six men accused in the Delhi gang-rape case, is a few months short of being 18 years old. He was primarily responsible for brutally torturing the woman.


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