Law to deal with sexual offences against children

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 16:31

New Delhi: The country will have for the first
time a comprehensive law to deal exclusively with sexual
offences against children providing for a stringent punishment
up to 10 years` jail term, which may even extend to life
imprisonment.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011
was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Minister of Women and
Child Development Krishna Tirath in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. It
will now be sent to the Standing Committee.

"Sexual offences against children are not adequately
addressed by the extant laws. A large number of such offences
are neither specifically provided for nor are they adequately
penalised," the statement of objects of the Bill said.

While the Bill has legalised consensual sex with a person
aged between 16-18 years, it has to be considered whether the
consent for such act has been obtained by use of violence,
force, intoxicants, drugs and deceit.

This law will cover all new aspects of sexual offences
against children not covered by any other existing law.

Defining what constitutes these offences, the proposed
legislation aims at protecting children against penetrative
sexual assault, sexual harassment, pornography and also
provide for establishment of special courts for speedy trial
of such offences.

The bill provides for treating sexual assault as
"aggravated offence" when it is committed by a person in
position of trust or authority over a child including a member
of the security forces, police officer, public servant,
management or staff of a children`s home, hospital or
educational institution.

As per the bill, aggravated penetrative sexual assault
against a child victim may lead to rigorous imprisonment for
not less than 10 years. The bill has provision to extend the
penalty to imprisonment for life, including fine.

Sexual assault also includes fondling the child in an
inappropriate way which will invite a penalty of minimum three
years in jail.

There will be an obligation on the media, studio and
photographic facilities to report such cases to the police and
failure to do so will attract punishment which may extend up
to six months imprisonment and fine.

There is a special provision in the bill preventing abuse
of children for pornographic purpose or possessing
pornographic material involving children.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 16:31

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