PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT, 2012

PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT, 2012

Introduction

One of the growing concerns in today’s world is ‘Child abuse’. Amidst all the problems that are arising recently, we easily overlook several tiny problems with major importance. We can’t imagine how badly such abuse can affect not only the child who has been prey to such cruelty, but also the people around him, and the society at large. Psychological and physical damage can be caused to the child by sexually abusing the child which might prolong for a lifetime. This issue has been observed rising worldwide. This article rather contains a quick outlook on the Indian picture encompassing this issue.

Child abuse is not restricted to any specific gender, religion, community, or economy as such, unlike a lot of other crimes. It can be traced right from the lowest to the top-most in its widespread angle. Half of the country’s children face some sort of sexual assault, with 21% having faced severe sexual assault. In reporting abuse, boys account for around 53% and girls for 47% of all children.

They always find a way to hide under various pretenses of society and mostly go unnoticed or unaccounted for, no matter how grievous the crime against children is. Either the people are too scared to return forward and report such crimes or within the cases where they are doing, the criminals escape with it very easily. Considering the situation in India, a country where sexuality is a big taboo, coming forward to fight against sexual abuse of children seems like an impossible endeavor. Laws are made by the legislature for the protection of youngsters, namely, The Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, and therefore the Juvenile Justice Act.

In keeping with the simplest international child protection standards, the Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) ,2012 provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offenses. This casts a duty upon an individual who knows that a toddler has been sexually abused to report the offense; if he fails to try to so, he may be punished with six months of imprisonment or a fine. With the gradual increase within the sexual crimes against children, the provisions of those acts are made stringent by making effective amendments.

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The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, also known as the POCSO Act, 2012. It aims at protecting children from pornography, sexual harassment, and sexual assault and also establishing Special courts to provide justice and for the trial of such cases mentioned under the act.

Article 15(3) of the Constitution of India, empowers the state to make special provisions for children and the Government of India has acceded on 11th December 1992 to the conventions on the Rights of the kid, adopted by the overall Assembly of the United Nations. The Act defines who shall be considered as a child for the aim of this act, and alongside it, certain other terms also, like sexual abuse, penetrative sexual assault, sexual harassment, aggravated sexual assault, etc.

According to Section 2(d) of Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012,

“Child means any person below the age of eighteen years.”

According to Section 3 of the Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012,

“A person is said to commit penetrative sexual assault if,

  • He penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a child or
  • makes the child do so with him or any other person or
  • He inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of the child or
  • makes the child do so with him or any other person or
  • He manipulates any part of the body of the child to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of the body of the child or
  • makes the child do so with him or any other person or
  • He applies his mouth to the penis, vagina, anus, urethra of the child or makes the child do so to such person or any other person.”
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According to Section 7 of Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, “Whoever, with sexual intent touches the vagina, penis, anus, or breast of the child or makes the child touch the vagina, penis, anus or breast of such person or the other person, or does the other act with sexual intent with involves physical contact without penetration is claimed to commit sexual abuse .”

Recent Developments in the Act

According to Section 9(m) of the Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, “whoever commits a sexual assault with a child below twelve years aged, is an aid to have committed aggravated sexual assault.” In a recent case, Raju Prasad vs. the State of Sikkim, the High Court of Sikkim, presided by Bhaskar Raj Pradhan J., held that an act of forcibly kissing a girl child of eleven years of age and hugging her can amount to aggravated sexual assault as mentioned under Section 9(m) of the Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO),2012.

The Special court awarded a sentence of 5 years of imprisonment to the accused.In a recent case, Shri Akhil Shil Vs. The State, the Calcutta High Court upheld the conviction and sentence of the accused under Section 6 of the Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, for sexually assaulting a minor girl of three years of age, despite there being contradictions within the statement of the minor and therefore the witnesses.

The court held that a toddler of such tender age can’t return and depose within the Court of such a heinous crime and a criminal intrinsically, shouldn’t be released simply on the grounds of slight contradictions. The Court also explained the term aggravated penetrative sexual abuse intimately and awarded a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for ten years and a fine of Rs. 10,000.

A compensation of Rs. 5,00,000 to the minor victim was also ordered by the court by the government to make sure her proper education and rehabilitation. The Court reiterated the importance of making awareness about the survival assault scheme or the victim assistance scheme. On 10th July 2019, the Union Cabinet approved certain amendments that shall be made within the Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO),2012 to form the provisions even more stringent concerning such maltreatment.

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To guard children against sexual offenses in times of natural calamities and in other situations where children are administered, in any way, any hormone or any chemical substance, to achieve early sexual maturity for the aim of penetrative sexual abuse several amendments are proposed in Section 9. The key a part of this approval was to supply execution to a child rapist, for committing aggravated penetrative assault and sexual abuse against a toddler. Various sections have been proposed to be amended, namely, section 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 14 and 15.

Conclusion

Child abuse is one of the foremost heinous crimes that might be committed against humanity. It not only disrupts the kid who has been sexually assaulted but also hinders the standard of the society within the bigger picture, because the children who have felt such traumatic things within the early stage of their lives, get older to become a part of the society. It is imperative to regulate child sex abuse to sustain a healthy population and prosperous growth of the county at large.

The government is also trying to make more laws like the POCSO Act, so that child abuse could stop. There are different NGO’s are set up so any person can ask help if they don’t have money or the government is not listening to them. Today many awareness campaigns are also taking place so every person can know about their rights and law that is made to protect them.

#WHEN YOU ABUSE A CHILD, YOU ABUSE THE FUTURE.

Author: AYUSH CHOUBEY,
Jagran Lakecity University, 1st Year

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