Parliament passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which amends the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The new bill seeks to enhance punishment for sexual offences against children with a provision of death penalty.
- Background: The POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Ms. Smriti Zubin Irani on July 18, 2019. It was approved by the Rajya Sabha on July 24, 2019 and Lok sabha on August 1, 2019.
- Penetrative sexual assault: The punishment for such offence is imprisonment between 7 years to life which can be hiked up to 10 years, and a fine. If a person commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below the age of 16 years, he will be punishable with imprisonment between 20 years to life, with a fine.
- Aggravated penetrative sexual assault: The Bill adds two more grounds to the definition of aggravated penetrative sexual assault which includes assault resulting in death of child, and assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar situations of violence. The minimum punishment is increased from 10 years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment to death penalty.
- Aggravated sexual assault: The Bill adds two more offences to the definition of aggravated sexual assault which includes assault committed during a natural calamity, and administering or help in administering any hormone or any chemical substance, to a child for the purpose of attaining early sexual maturity.
- Pornographic purposes: The Act penalizes persons who use children for pornographic purposes resulting in sexual assault.
- Storage of pornographic material: The Bill provides that the punishment can be imprisonment between 3 to 5 years, or a fine, or both. It added two other offences for storage of pornographic material involving children which include failing to destroy, or delete, or report pornographic material involving a child, and transmitting, displaying, distributing such material except for the purpose of reporting it.
Punishment for offences for using children for pornographic purposes
|Offence||Punishment as per 2019 Bill|
|Use of child for pornographic purposes||Minimum: 5 years|
|Use of child for pornographic purposes resulting in penetrative sexual assault||Minimum: 10 years (in case of child below 16 years: 20 years)
Maximum: life imprisonment
|Use of child for pornographic purposes resulting in aggravated penetrative sexual assault||Minimum: 20 years
Maximum: life imprisonment or death.
|Use of child for pornographic purposes resulting in sexual assault||Minimum: 3 years
Maximum: 5 years
|Use of child for pornographic purposes resulting in aggravated sexual assault||Minimum: 5 years
Maximum: 7 years
About Ministry of Women and Child Development:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Budget Allocation 2019-20: Rs 29,164.9 crore