Context: Recently, the Bombay High Court stated that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was not enacted to punish minors in a consensual relationship.
About the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act:
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) was enacted in 2012.
- Objective: to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and pornography.
- The Act has been amended in 2019.
- The amendment contains provisions for the enhancement of punishments for various offences and provides security and dignified childhood for a child.
Salient provisions of the Act:-
- The Act defines a Child as any person below eighteen.
- The Act remains gender-neutral.
- The Act also defines different forms of sexual abuse
- It includes penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography.
- The Act deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” if the abused child is mentally ill or the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.
- The law provides for relief and rehabilitation as soon as the complaint is made.
- The Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police will make immediate arrangements for the care and protection of a child.
- The Arrangements such as obtaining emergency medical treatment for the child and placing the child in a shelter home etc will be made available.
- The Act contains provisions for Mandatory reporting.
- This casts a legal duty upon a person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence.
- If he fails to do so, he may be punished with six months imprisonment and/ or a fine.
- The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of offences under the Act.
- The Act prescribes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or the death penalty.
- The Act provides a mandatory minimum punishment of three years
Read also: Hot Springs And Gogra Post