Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday expressed confidence that the bill, which seeks to make punishment for crime against women more stringent, will be passed in the Budget session.
Following differences in the cabinet over it, the bill was on Tuesday referred to a Group of Ministers for further consultations. Shinde said that the bill will be cleared by Thursday, when the cabinet meets again.
"The group of ministers have been appointed and the meetings will take place. By Thursday, it will be cleared... Not more than this," Shinde told reporters outside Parliament.
To a question whether he was confident that the bill will be passed in this session itself, the home minister responded saying " Yes...I am very confident".
Differences erupted in the meeting of the Union cabinet on Tuesday on certain provisions of the bill, including lowering the age of consensual sex to 16 years.
Sources said the hour-long special cabinet meeting convened to clear the bill could not arrive at an agreement, following which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred it to a GoM.
The proposed GoM is likely to have Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath, Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, Shinde and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, sources said.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 will replace the February 3 Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance. The Ordinance will lapse on April 4 -- six weeks from February 21 when the Budget session was convened.