25 May Expanding the scope of POCSO(The Hindu, Polity, GS-2)
Context:- POSCO act which was enacted to save children from sexual abuse still find itself insufficient to deal with the historic cases. Though before the POSCO act there were some section of CrPC but these sections too were insufficient.
Main provisions of posco act:-
- Gender neutral: It talks about aggravated penetrative sexual assault against children, both boys and girls, below the age of 18.
- Definition: It defines sexual assault
- The existing definition covers 21 categories of penetrative sexual crimes against children
- New category: The Ministry of Women and Child Development has cited reported rapes of young girls in the aftermath of Kedarnath floods and that children constitute 50-60% of victims of calamities to make a case for including rapes in course of natural calamities as the 21st category.
- More stringent punishment: minimum of 10 years to a minimum of 20 years, up to a maximum of life imprisonment and even the death penalty under Section 6 of POCSO Act.
- Punitive measures have been made more stringent in cases where children are used for pornography as well as for storing such content.
- It also includes the gangrape of a child or use of deadly weapons during penetrative sexual assault
- The maximum punishment of death.
- Historic cases are not dealt with the efficiency even they are not registered.
- Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) prohibit judicial magistrates from taking cognisance of cases beyond a specific time period.
- any reporting of an offence, under Section 354 of the IPC, more than three years after the date of incident would be barred by the CrPC.
- Why reporting of cases are late in case of children
- Societal pressure
- Child thinks he or she will not be trusted by the family
- Fear from the concerned person
- No police help
- Need to revisit the law
- no time limit shall apply for POCSO cases.
- Security to the child who comes to filing the cases
- A secrecy in the name of the child
Plutus IAS Current Affair Team Member