POCSO Act: Guarantee of Childrens Security
May 26, 2019 • Daily Canon Times
POCSO Act: Guarantee of Childrens Security

There is no sense of moral conduct in society these days. The most tragic is sexual abuse of small children. Not only do the child and his family have to undergo tragedy, but the entire society is shamed from this crime. There is provision of punishment for various crimes in the Indian Constitution, but there was no legal provision for sexual offenses committed with children. The only reason for this is that our society did not even imagine of such a crime.In view of the increasing number of crimes against children in the long run, the government enacted a special law in the year 2012 to control it.

  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act 2012, which means an Act for protection of children from sexual harassment. The Act provides protection to children against serious crimes like sexual harassment, sexual assault and pornography, molestation, rape and abuse.

  • Under this law, formed in the year 2012, different punishments have been fixed for different offenses and strict adherence to it has also been ensured. Section 4 of this act takes those issues into consideration in which the child has been raped or abused. The punishment for this could range from seven years to life imprisonment and fine.

  • The cases brought under Section 6 of the POCSO Act, are those in which children have been seriously injured after rape or abuse. In this the punishment can be from ten years to life imprisonment besides a penalty can also be imposed.

  • Under Sections 7 and 8 of the POCSO Act cases in which children are subjected to fondling of genitals. Once the charge is proven against the accused, they can be sentenced from 5-7 years of imprisonment and penalty.

    • Under Section 3 of POCSO Act, Penetrative Sexual Assault has been defined in which any activity with a child's body can lead to strict punishment.

  • Any sexually activity with children under the age of 18 comes under the purview of this law. This law provides equal protection to girls and boys. The cases registered under this law are heard in special courts.

Amendment in POCSO Act

The provision of death by hanging for rape of girls under 12 already existed, but due to the amendment made in IPC, boys who were victims of sexual exploitation were left out. Now there is provision of death by hanging for those accused of sexually assaulting boys also so that they too can protected from sexual exploitation. The amendment in Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act 2012, was approved on August 6, 2018, to save children under 18 (boy or girl) from sexual harassment. There is provision for death sentence for sexual abuse of children under 12 in the amended Act.

Provisions of POCSO Act

  • The definition of sexual exploitation in the POCSO Act involves sexual harassment, pornography, sexual and non-sexual assault. Under the Act, according to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the age for consensual sex has been increased from 16 to 18 years.

  • According to the Act, if a person (child, youth and elderly, all) commits any sexual act with a child less than 18 years of age with or without consent of the child, then it will come under the purview of POCSO Act.

  • If any of the spouses is under 18 years of age and they also commit sexual acts, then it will also fall under the category of crime and a case may be registered.

  • Under this Act, the hearing of all the crime cases is carried out in front of the camera in a special court. It has been said in the Act that during the hearing, efforts should be made that the victim's parents or a person he trusts should be present.

    • If the accused is a juvenile, then the case will be pursued under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection ofChildrenAct2000.

  • If the victim is disabled or mentally and physically weak, then the Special Court should seek help from a translator and special teacher to record his or her testimony.

  • If the accused has committed a crime which is a crime in other law also other than the Child Criminal Law, then punishment will be under the law, which is the strictest.

    • In this it is the responsibility of the accused to prove himself innocent. Apart from this, there is provision for punishment for making false allegations, giving false information and spoiling someone's image.

  • People, who engage in child trafficking, also fall under this law.

  • There is also a provision in the Act that if a person knows that any child has been sexually exploited then it should be reported to the nearest police station. If he does not do this, he can be punished with a 6-month term and fine.

  • This law places the responsibility of child guardian to the police. In this, the police have to carry out other responsibilities including child care. Apart from this, the responsibility of the Police is also to ensure that the information of the case is given to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within 24 hours, which will help the CWC to take necessary steps for the safety and protection of the child. A provision in the Act is that the hearing of the case will be undertaken in a friendly environment in a closed room. The child's identity should be kept secret. Under POCSO, the Special Court can determine the amount of compensation to the victim child. The Act also states that the case should be disposed of within a year from the date of sexual abuse.

The POCSO Act provides for stringent penalties for criminals. Certainly this law will help in prevention of child sexual abuse. It should also ensured participation of the society because any child of any family may become victim of sexual harassment. In such a case, our collective responsibility is to prevent crime and get the accused punished so that criminals remain in fear.