‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019’

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    6th Aug, 2019

Context

Parliament passed Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019to protects children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.

The salient features and the recent amendments are as follows:

  • Penetrative sexual assault: It defines “penetrative sexual assault” act as penetrating penis into vagina, mouth, urethra, anus of child or making a child to do the same and several other such acts. The punishment earlier was imprisonment between seven years to life, and a fine.
  • The Bill increases the minimum punishment from 7 years to 10 years.
  • It further adds that 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: It defines certain actions as “aggravated penetrative sexual assault” like cases when a public servant or relative commits penetrative sexual assault on a child. Or if the child becomes pregnant.

The Bill adds two more grounds to the definition of aggravated penetrative sexual assault.

  • Assault resulting in death of child, and
  • Assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar situations of violence.
  • The Bill increases the minimum punishment from ten years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment to death penalty.
  • Aggravated sexual assault: It defines actions like touching vagina, penis, anus etc. without penetration without penetration which injures sexual organs or done by the relative of the child.

The Bill adds two more offences to the definition of aggravated sexual assault.

  • Assault committed during a natural calamity
  • Administrating or help in administering any hormone or any chemical substance, to a child for the purpose of attaining early sexual maturity.
  • Pornographic purposes: The Bill defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including photograph, video, digital or computer generated image indistinguishable from an actual child. The Bill enhances the punishments for offences under this provision.
  • Storage of pornographic material: The Act penalises storage of pornographic material for commercial purposes with a punishment of up to three years, or a fine, or both.

The Bill amends this to provide that the punishment can be imprisonment between three to five years, or a fine, or both. 

In addition, the Bill adds two other offences for storage of pornographic material involving children. 

  • Failing to destroy, or delete, or report pornographic material involving a child
  • Transmitting, displaying, distributing such material except for the purpose of reporting it

These are welcome amendments and will ensure child safety and protection from sexual assault.

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