Cabinet okays amendment in POCSO Act to make punishment more stringent

NEW DELHI, Dec 28:
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children.
The amendment is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act, Union Ravi Shankar Prasad told mediapersons on Friday.
He said the new amendment may protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity. The amendment aims to establish clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof.
The POCSO Act, 2012 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 Minister said the amendment in Section-4, Section-5, Section-6, Section-9, Section-14, Section-15 and Section-42 of the Act is made to address the aspects of child sexual abuse in appropriate manner. The modification is made to address the need for stringent measures required to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country.
Mr Prasad added that to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent Section-4, Section-5 and Section-6 are proposed to be amended to provide option of stringent punishment, including death penalty, for committing aggravated penetrative sexual assault crime on a child to protect the children from sexual abuse.
The amendments are also proposed in section-9 to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and disasters and in cases where children are administered, in any way, any hormone or any chemical substance, to attain early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.
He said Section-14 and Section-15 of the Act are also proposed to be amended to address the menace of the child pornography. (PTI)
The person can be further penalized with jail term or fine or both for transmitting or propagating 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 or possessing any pornographic material in any form involving a child for commercial purpose.

The Cabinet meeting was held on Thursday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.