New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed a Bill seeking to protect children from sexual abuse with provision for setting up special courts for speedy trial and stringent punishment including life sentence for committing sexual assault on minor of the age of 16.
The House passed the Protection of Children Sexual Offences Bill, 2011 through voice vote after a brief discussion.
Showing extreme concern over the sensitive issue of child abuse, the members sat beyond scheduled time of 6 pm in the House to approve the Bill, the provisions of which extends to the whole country except Jammu and Kashmir.
Piloting the Bill, Krishna Tirath, Women and Child Development Minister said the legislation has been necessitated due to the fact that incidents of child abuse has increased immensely particularly in the NCR region.
The minister said according to a study conducted by her ministry in 13 states, 33 per cent of children accepted that they have been sexually exploited.
"Provided that where such penetrative sexual assault is committed against a child between 16 to 18 years of age, it shall be considered whether the consent for such an act has been obtained against the will of the child or the consent has been obtained by use of violence, force, threat to use force, intoxicants, drugs, impersonation, fraud, deceit, coercion, undue influence, threats, when the child is sleeping or unconscious or where the child does not have the capacity to understand the nature of the act or to resist it," the Bill read.
The minister said the Bill has provision for the state governments to set a court of session to be a Special Court to try the offences under the Act.