The Justice Verma Committee, set up to review India’s legislation following the brutal gang rape of a student in Delhi last month, released its recommendations on how to make the country safer for women last week.
Among the issues which the panel addressed was a “neglected area” concerning sexual violence against women in areas of conflict.
The committee recommends stripping security forces of special immunity that they enjoy in conflict areas in cases of sexual assault on women, and bringing them under the purview of ordinary criminal law.
Special laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which is enforced in Jammu & Kashmir and the northeastern states, give security forces immunity from prosecution unless sanctioned by the central government.
Human rights groups say the military arbitrarily uses it to violate human rights, which sometimes include sexual assault on women.