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POCSO Act

Topics covered:

Women and related issues.

 

POCSO Act

 

What to study?

For Prelims: POCSO Act provisions.

For Mains: Sexual abuse of children- prevention and need for stringent provisions.

 

Context: Parliament has passed the Amendments in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

 

Key changes proposed:

Penetrative sexual assault: The bill increases minimum punishment for this offence from 7 years to 10 years. It also provides for with imprisonment between 20 years to life, with fine if person commits penetrative sexual assault on child below age of 16 years.

Aggravated penetrative sexual assault: The Bill adds two more grounds to definition of aggravated penetrative sexual assault. These include: (i) assault resulting in death of child and (ii) assault committed during natural calamity or in any similar situations of violence. It also increases minimum punishment from 10 years to 20 years, and maximum punishment to death penalty.

Aggravated sexual assault: The Bill adds two more offences to definition of aggravated sexual assault. These include: (i) assault committed during natural calamity and (ii) administrating or help in administering any chemical substance or any hormone to child for the purpose of attaining early sexual maturity.

Child Pornography: The Bill defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct that involves child such as photograph, video, digital or even computer generated image indistinguishable from actual child. It also enhances punishments for certain offences related to child pornography.

Storage of pornographic material: It increases punishment for storage of pornographic material with imprisonment between three to five years, or fine, or both. In addition, it also adds two other offences for storage of pornographic material involving children. These include: (i) transmitting, displaying, distributing such material except for the purpose of reporting it and (ii) failing to destroy or delete or report pornographic material involving child.

 

 

Impact:

  1. The amendment is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act.
  2. It intends to protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity. 
  3. The amendment is aimed to establish clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof.

 

POCSO Act:

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

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