a retirement of public service

When gusts of equality were blowing down Rajpath, young people stormed the barricades, facing beatings and water cannons, alienated by State inaction on sexual violence. Justice Verma placed the full weight of his eminence and judicial experience behind them.

The report he produced has given women and men a contemporary bill of rights.
— Karuna Nandy

Justice Verma Committee

On December 16, 2012 a young woman was gang-raped on a bus by 6 assailants whilst coming home from watching Life of Pi. A public outcry for radical change was made stronger because of an unresponsive government.

The Government of the day constituted a three member panel to a report on legal reform to tackle sexual violence. The Chairman, Justice Verma, was joined by distinguished jurists Justice Leila Seth and Gopal Subramaniam.

The Committee has done an incredible job of transmuting pain and anger into an inspirational roadmap for the future. It is now up to civil society to ensure that the radical recommendations of the Committee are converted into reality.
— Arvind Narrain, Activist

The Committee, aided by a team of junior researchers, heard and read testimony from 80 000 people over 29 days.

This included extensive testimony from survivors of rape, trafficking and assault.

 

He was fearless and forthcoming, and made time for everybody to depose before him. Someone of his age and stature didn’t have to do that, but he met all activists from different parts of the country
— Flavia Agnes

The 657 page report re-ordered its remit and argued it could only tackle sexual violence by tackling all its foundations: in society, politics, culture, law and imagination.

Unlike people who only speak about rape cases in Delhi, he spoke about Dalits, about what’s happening to women in conflict areas, about people of different sexual orientations. That’s the kind of person who is able to attend to the concerns of people of different classes, castes and communities. That’s really the test of a man. Not only had he occupied the highest judicial office in this country, but he remained open, attentive and sensitive to the issues and concerns of everyone.”
— Vrinda Grover

It spared few, blaming poor governance and policing for high incidences of sexual violence, but equally condemning social mindframes and regressive social institutions for underpinning patriarchy.

It challenged the widespread sexual violence that occurred under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and argued for making soldiers liable to criminal proceedings for such action.

The JVC report shall remain a historic report, because it sliced through the layers of
patriarchy, not by peeling one layer at a time, but in dealing sharp, clear blows to its very core
— Feminist India
If the people of India needed tactile evidence that the ground beneath their feet has shifted on gender issues, then on 23 January, it arrived...his 657-page report that is really a roadmap to dismantling patriarchy across all our institutions
— Revati Laul

The revolutionary report was nationally and internationally acclaimed.

Justice Verma delivered valuable recommendations on tackling sexual violence. i count on India to realise them.
— Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
With the sad demise of Justice Verma, the Indian women’s movement has lost one of its most noble defenders
— Feminist India
The nation has to account for the tears of millions of women
— Justice Verma Committee

Right to information

The Right to Information is a constitutional obligation
— Justice Verma

Justice Verma prominently lent his support to the Right to Information movement and worked for its implementation.

The judiciary must be brought into the ambit of Right to Information Act. Hearing of all the cases is done publicly and decisions are pronounced publicly. The administrative actions of the judiciary, especially judicial appointments, should similarly be open to public scrutiny
— Justice Verma
Aruna Roy, JSV, Soli.jpg