Ordinance a step forward but way short of national consensus: Badal
Chandigarh 4 : Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today extended a 'cautious welcome' to the Centre's ordinance against rape, saying it reflected a step forward but fell way short of the the national consensus for a comprehensive constitutional initiative on the issue.
He said the government had surprisingly chosen to turn a blind eye to the recommendations of the Verma panel and women's organisations and advice of well meaning eminent social activists and jurists in favour of stringent provisions on all gender offences.
In a statement here, Mr Badal said the timing of the ordinance also raised questions as the prosecution had already "absolved" one of the most serious offenders in the Delhi gangrape case on grounds of juvenile crime.
"It sounds strange that the government first seeks the opinions of all the Chief Ministers and then dithers on their recommendations regarding lowering of the upper age limit for "minors" in rape cases. I was personally of the view that lowering of upper age limit for adult franchise from 21 to 18 years had provided the rationale for a similar reduction in the definition of a juvenile in rape cases, " he said.