The Act seeks to protect children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography. The Department of Women and Child Development, Government of India, came into existence as a separate Ministry with effect from 30th January, , earlier since it was a Department under the Ministry of Human Resources Development. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest percentage of sexual abuse among both boys and girls. If such a crime has been committed on a child below the age of 16 years, then the punishment will be between 20 years to life.
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Chapter II- Sections 3 — 4 defined Penetrative Sexual Assault and prescribed the punishment of not less than seven 7 years to life imprisonment and a fine for offenders. The definition of Penetrative Sexual Assault was not limited to girls but also does not focus on one traditional sexual act of penovaginal intercourse.
It defined that assault to include all forms of sexual acts either in existence or envisaged to be later. Sections 5 — 6 defined Aggravated penetrative sexual assault and prescribed an imprisonment of not less than ten 10 years to life imprisonment and a fine for offenders.
Sections 7 — 8 defined Sexual assault and proscribed not less than three 3 years to a maximum of five 5 years and fine for offenders.
Sections 9 — 10 defines Aggravated sexual assault with not less than five 5 years to not more than seven 7 years, and fine prescribed to offenders. Sections 11 — 12 provides for the sexual harassment of a child, including a punishment of three 3 years imprisonment and fine for offenders. Chapter III- Sections 13 — 14 covers for the use of a child for pornographic purpose or purposes and stipulates a term of five 5 years or seven 7 years and a fine as punishment for the offender.
The key point in the punishment is the exact amount or the amount of money attributed as a fine was not defined or stated. As such, the sum to be fined is left at the discretion of the court. The special court shall determine all cases brought before it within thirty 30 days except in extreme cases, it may exceed the numbers of days stipulated. Prior to the trial, there are steps or procedure required such as filing a case report.
To do so, sections 19 — 20 provides that: The report should be made to: Special Juvenile Police Unit or, Local Police The Report once made shall be: Recorded in writing Read over to the informant in a clear and understandable language Entered in a Book to be kept by the Police Unit.
The information provided by the informant can be any person including a child who has knowledge of the offense, who the offense has been committed on or who has knowledge that such offense is likely to be committed. But there is a caveat to this. If it is discovered that the information provided is false or there is a false accusation or information of an offense against another solely with the intent to threaten, tarnish, extort, humiliation, defame or otherwise is punishable with six 6 months or a fine or both Section 22 POCSO Act, The purpose of the punishment is to serve as a deterrent to miscreants but not necessarily to scare people away.
Also, this section is not applicable to children because they are the main objective of the Act. If the informant is a child, there must the provision of special care and protection within 24 hours by the Special Juvenile Police Unit or Local Police. Such care and protection may include an admission in a near hospital or shelter home. There are no provisions for what might happen when nothing is done to provide special care and protection to the child after the 24 hours have elapsed.
But, section 21 provides that failure to report or record the offence by a person or institution is liable to a fine and imprisonment ranging from six 6 months to one 1 year excluding a child while it recommends a six 6 months imprisonment as a punishment to a police officer that fails or does not record a sexual offense complaint by a child victim. Case Report by a Child- There is the provision of what a police officer ought to do when the report is coming from a child.
Information to Parents or Guardians- Rule 4 12 of the POCSO Rules, provides that the police must inform the parents or guardians about: The availability of medical services provided to the child, The Procedural steps are taken or to be taken by the police in the criminal prosecution, The availability of compensation for the child victim, The arrest of the sexual offender, The filing of the Charge particularly First Information Report FIR against the sexual offender, The dates of the proceedings of the court, The bail or release of the sexual offender, The rendering of the court verdict, and The sentencing of the sexual offender.
This simply means that offenses under the Act are non-bailable. Generally, it is presumed that all suspects are innocent until proven guilty but there is an exception. All offenses that are not bailable consider suspects or offenders as guilty until proven innocent and this is applicable to sexual offenders.
Therefore, for a suspect or an offender to prove his or her innocence, it must be done by the court or determined in the course of the investigation. But for an offender to be bailed under the POCSO Act, the following factors may be considered: The gravity of the crime committed and its antecedent effect on society. The likely chance that the offender may be a repeat offender if released on bail. The establishment of a prima facie case against the offender.
The position of the offender or accused in the family such as breadwinner, income provider, etc. For a female, whether she is pregnant or have children below the age of twelve 12 in her care. The likely opportunity of the offender or accused to prepare a defense.
These considerations are not all-encompassing but they provide the guidelines or factors the court may look into before granting or denying bail to the case at hand. Bail cannot be applied for at the police station but only in court after the charge sheet has been completed and filed. This is to correct the errors or omissions of previous laws which either failed to define and punish sexual violence on children or failed to consider all types of sexual assaults.
A cursory look at the POCSO Act shows that more efforts need to be made to equip and train the police officers to handle these cases, remove the condemnation of consensual intercourse between minors, allow medical practitioners to treat and attend to girls under 18 years that are pregnant and seeking for abortion , etc. While the lawmakers work on its amendment, we must encourage the steps taken to curb sexual violence on children in India.
POCSO Act- Laws And Acts, Case Report, Bail Under The Act
The need for making a separate law arose due to the incompetence in the present laws. POCSO law deals primarily with the violation of child rights where their sexual dignity is harmed. India has also ratified to the UN convention on Right to Child , which lays basic rights of the children of survival, development of their mental and physical potential and participation in family, cultural and social life. Child sexual abuse differs largely from adult sexual abuse. The child being a minor in most situations is unable to comprehend that his sexual identity is assaulted. Children often think that the wrongdoings happening with them are normal for every child. A child is not mature enough in cases to understand that his kith and kin are the perpetrators giving him mental trauma and hindering his social growth.
POCSO Amendment Bill, 2019 – Free PDF Download
Chapter II- Sections 3 — 4 defined Penetrative Sexual Assault and prescribed the punishment of not less than seven 7 years to life imprisonment and a fine for offenders. The definition of Penetrative Sexual Assault was not limited to girls but also does not focus on one traditional sexual act of penovaginal intercourse. It defined that assault to include all forms of sexual acts either in existence or envisaged to be later. Sections 5 — 6 defined Aggravated penetrative sexual assault and prescribed an imprisonment of not less than ten 10 years to life imprisonment and a fine for offenders. Sections 7 — 8 defined Sexual assault and proscribed not less than three 3 years to a maximum of five 5 years and fine for offenders. Sections 9 — 10 defines Aggravated sexual assault with not less than five 5 years to not more than seven 7 years, and fine prescribed to offenders.
POCSO Act, 2012
Madhya Pradesh Cabinet Ministers List Full list of ministers in Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet The Act defines different forms of sexual abuse which includes penetrative and non-penetrative assault. It also involves sexual harassment, pornography, etc. It makes it the legal duty of a person aware of the offence to report the sexual abuse. The Act further states that the evidence of the child should be recorded within a period of thirty days. The Special Court taking cognizance of the matter should be able to complete the trial within the period of one year from the date of taking cognizance of the abuse. It provides that the Special Court proceedings should be recorded in camera and the trial should take place in the presence of parents r any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence. The Act provides for punishment against false complaints or untrue information.