India introduced a new package of laws against sexual assault and human trafficking on Sunday, marking one of the most significant actions the government has taken to combat violence and sexual abuse against women. Prompted by the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman on a moving bus in Delhi, the new measure was signed into law on Sunday by President Pranab Mukherjee.
The law make crimes such as voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women punishable under criminal law. But many women’s groups have rejected the measure, arguing that it only selectively accepted the recommendations of the Justice JK Verma commission. The commission, named after its chair and former Supreme Court judge JS Verma, sought to make marital rape a criminal offense, and for members of India’s police and armed forces to be tried in criminal courts for for sex crimes, rather than being prosecuted in army courts.
The new laws reject both recommendations.