Women lawmakers call for removing statute of limitations on rape cases

As the youths have started taking to the streets spontaneously demanding the government remove the statute of limitations on heinous crimes like rape, after a woman brought into public an incident of alleged rape after eight years, lawmakers of major parties have urged the government to heed the call.

During an informal discussion organised by the parliamentary Women and Social Committee on Sunday, CPN-UML lawmaker Binda Pande, Nepali Congress lawmaker and whip Pushpa Bhusal and CPN (Maoist Centre) lawmaker Amrita Thapa have demanded that the government amend the existing laws to remove the statute of limitations to register rape cases.

The informal meeting was called to discuss the alleged rape of a minor by a beauty pageant organiser eight years ago. Her harrowing experience of sexual assault came to the fore only after she dared to reveal it through social media last week.

Speaking at the informal meeting, UML lawmaker Pande asked the government to remove the statute of limitations and said the lawmakers themselves would bring a resolution motion in parliament if the government did not address the issue. She complained that the government has faileded to control increasing cases of violence against women.

“It would be good to apply the statute of limitations from the day when a minor reveals the incident,” Pande told the meeting. “We should press the government to come up with a bill to amend the existing law so as to remove the statute of limitations. If the government ignores the issue then we should create pressure even by pushing a resolution motion.”

During the meeting, Thapa, a lawmaker from the Maoist Centre and a member of the Parliamentary Women and Social Committee, said the next meeting of the parliamentary committee is scheduled for Monday to discuss the alleged rape.

She said the provision of providing immediate relief to rape victims should also be included in the law. “Women working in the entertainment industry are more prone to sexual violence and therefore the political parties, their sister wings, and all other organisations concerned should work together to end such violence,” Thapa said.

Ruling Nepali Congress lawmaker and whip Bhusal also demanded the government to begin investigation into the alleged rape.

Secretary of the parliamentary committee Ekaram Giri said they have invited Law Minister Govinda Bandi, Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens Uma Regmi and Home Secretary Tek Narayan Pandey to discuss removing the statute of limitations. 

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