In response to the death of a young woman after a violent sexual attack in India, protestors are taking to the streets. They have also submitted a petition asking for politicians facing charges of similar crimes to be removed from office.
Indian lawmakers facing sexual assault charges could be suspended from office if the country's top court rules in favor of a petition submitted after a gang-rape and murder that shocked the country.
Six state lawmakers are facing rape prosecutions and two national parliamentarians are facing charges of crimes against women that fall short of rape, said Jagdeep S. Chhokar, an official with the Association for Democratic Reforms, which tracks political candidate's criminal records.
The petition will be heard Thursday, the same day police plan to formally charge six suspects in the attack on a 23-year-old university student in New Delhi two weeks ago.
The rape triggered outrage and sparked demands for stronger laws, tougher police action against sexual assault suspects and a sustained campaign to change society's views on women.
As part of that campaign, Chief Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to hear a petition from retired government administrator Promilla Shanker asking the Supreme Court to suspend all national and state lawmakers who are facing prosecution for crimes against women.
She also asked the court to force the national government to fast-track thousands of rape cases languishing in India's notoriously sluggish court system.