The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice was held on Wednesday in Parliament Lodges, Islamabad.
The meeting was chaired by Senator Syed Ali Zafar. Members who attended were Senator Shibli Faraz, Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Senator Faooq Hamid Naek, Senator Kamran Murtaza, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, Senator Walid Iqbal and senior officers from the Ministry of Law and Justice along with all concerned. The Minister for Law and Justice, Senator Dr. Farogh Naseem and the Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Malika Bukhari were also present.
Deliberation entailed over the Bill titled The Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Bill, 2021 moved by Senator Dr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem, Minister for Law and Justice in the Senate sitting held on 15th June, 2021.
After detailed review of the various clauses, the Committee recommended various amendments to the Bill. Taking up the issue of inclusion of transgenders into the Bill, the Ministry suggested doing so would create medico-legal and administrative complications. Child transgenders, however, were agreed to be included under the ambit of this law.
The Committee recommended that retired judges must not be considered for the special courts to be set up under the law. The Ministry clarified that the reason for inclusion of retired judges was to facilitate women, since there were many women retired judges who could bring value to this mission. The age bracket was reduced to 65 years.
Voting on the decision to establish Special Courts was conducted, which was in the affirmative. The Ministry, while providing its stance on the matter was of the view that the creation of Special Courts was crucial to ensure that women and children are afforded a fair and speedy trial in a congenial environment.
Raising concerns regarding false accusations, the Committee was of the view that a safety valve must be given to the accused to ensure no injustice is done. The Committee stressed the need to include a clause that would allow for questioning to establish the presence or absence of consent.
It was consented that the Bill will be passed after a review of amended clauses by the Committee members through circulation.