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Death for aggravated sexual assault of minors under amended POCSO Act

Stringent punishments have also been suggested to address the menace of child pornography.

Death for aggravated sexual assault of minors under amended POCSO Act

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Friday vowed to make punishment for those committing sexual crimes against children more stringent. In a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Cabinet accepted the proposal to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and make it punishable by death. 

The POCSO Act was enacted to protect the children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children. The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. It regards the best interests and welfare of the child as a matter of paramount importance at every stage. It also seeks to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child. 

To discourage the trend of child sexual abuse, amendments were proposed seeking stringent punishment, including death penalty, for committing aggravated penetrative sexual assault crime on a child to protect the children from sexual abuse. The amendmemt was on Friday accepted by the Cabinet. 

The amendments were also proposed to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and disasters and in cases where children are administered to attain early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.

Amendments have also been sought to address the menace of child pornography. It is proposed to levy fine for not destroying/or deleting/ or reporting the pornographic material involving a child. The person can be further penalised with jail term or fine or both for transmitting/propagating/administrating such material in any manner except for the purpose of reporting as may be prescribed and for use as evidence in court. Penal provisions have been made more stringent for storing/possessing any pornographic material in any form involving a child for commercial purpose.