On Wednesday Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani introduced The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in Rajya Sabha. The bill seeks enhancement of punishment and more stringent laws against sexual offenders of children. Some of the provisions including death penalty for offenders and setting up of new 1023 fast track courts were presented in the bill. Also, provisions to prevent child pornography and punishment for offenders are included.
The total expenditure to setup these fast track court is INR 767 crore which will be shared by centre and state both. The central government will allocate INR 474 crore fund to setup these fast track courts. Last year Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released data of 6.20 lakh sexual offenders in the country. The data helps when such person goes for employment and the institution and if their information is sent for police verification.
According to the new amendment bill, sexual assault against children below 16 years of the age, will be charged with 20 years of imprisonment.
What POCSO Amendment Bill says
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, was implemented in 2012. The Act was framed in order to provide a stringent legal framework for the protection of children from the sexual offence. Also to safeguard the victim (child) at every stage of the judicial process.
According to the new amendment bill, sexual assault against children below 16 years of the age, will be charged with 20 years of imprisonment. The punishment may also increase up to life imprisonment as well as fine. In rare of the rarest case, the provision of the death penalty will be accepted.
The bill also has provision against child pornography. Using any child for pornographic purposes will be punished with imprisonment up to five years and a fine. The repeat offender will be charged with seven years of imprisonment including fine. According to the bill, child pornography is, “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including photographs, video, digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child.”
What does the government say?
While debating on the bill Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said India Today reported, “The punishment now goes to 20 years till the entire life and death as deemed fit by the court. Given that the court wisely uses these kinds of descriptive punishments. We can rely on the wisdom of the courts to use the death penalty in rare of the rarest case.”
Irani made it clear that the case under POCSO Act has to complete their trail under a one-year time limit. The investigation must be completed within two months of time as justice delayed is justice denied.
Irani made it clear that the case under POCSO Act has to complete their trail under a one-year time limit. The investigation must be completed within two months of time as justice delayed is justice denied. The state governments have been asked to appoint a senior nodal police officer for their state-level Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Besides that, “The government reached out to each state and 18 states have consented to set up this court.” said Smiriti Irani. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) will monitor the implementation of this act.
What is the general public’s reaction?
Welcoming more stringent laws in order to protect children against sexual crimes, people have accepted this bill wholeheartedly.
— SaveOurChildren (@SaveOurChildre6) July 24, 2019
— Preeti Choudhry (@PreetiChoudhry) July 24, 2019
Meanwhile, raising concern for more stringent laws for the victims of every age group, people demanded strict punishments for sexual offenders. After getting a node from the Rajya Sabha, the bill will be presented in the Lok Sabha, after which the amendment will be implemented.
#POCSO I sincerely hope the punishment is the same irrespective of the age of the offender. Juveniles get away under current laws. Punishment should commensurate with crime and all other factors should not matter
— Suresh N (@surnell) July 24, 2019
Divya Tripathi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV