NEW DELHI: The Centre is proposing changes in the code of criminal procedure (CrPC) to declare “absconders” the NRI husbands who abandon their wives in India and fail to honour court summons in the case thrice. It has also proposed that the husbands’ and their parents’ properties in India be attached.
The ministry of women and child development is also seeking a change in the CrPC to allow filing of complaints of child sexual abuse years after the crime or even after the survivors have become adults. This would require a change in the limitation provisions applicable.
The external affairs ministry has written to the ministries of law and home to consider the proposed amendments in the CrPC pertaining to court summons. “It has been seen that the NRI husbands who abandon their wives keep evading court summons. If this change comes through in CrPc, then it will not be possible to do so. After three summons it will be considered that the man is absconding and his name is proposed to be added to a list of absconders on the MEA website,” WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said.
On the changes sought in CrPC with respect to reporting child sexual abuse at a later stage in life, Maneka said, “The substance of this change would be that if you have been molested at some point in time when you were aminor, then you are still entitled to get justice.” However, she did caution that proving such cases would have complex dynamics.
Nevertheless the concerns of survivors of abuse who could not speak up as minors and now want justice as adults need to be looked at and addressed,” she added. She feels a change in limitation provisions will also act as a detterent against abuse.
“We are in the process of writing to the minstry of home affairs asking them to amend Section 473 of the CrPC. This change will enable the removal of time limit for filing a case,” secretary, WCD, R K Shrivastava said at apress conference. The WCD ministry has been receiving many complaints of incidents that occurred many years ago.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) too has been receiving similar cases and hence a need for a discussion around the issue was felt. In January, an Indianorigin scientist from Canada, a survivor of child sexual abuse, approached the ministry and the NCPCR pressing for legislative amendments to allow victims to report such crimes even after many years.