Parliament receives President’s assent for — the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019; Provision of “death penalty” included

After the Parliament approval, President of India, Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent for the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019, today, i.e. 05-08-2019.

Object of the POCSO Act, 2012:

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (the said Act) has been enacted to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography and provide for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Reason for approving the POCSO (Amendment) Act, 2019:

In the recent past incidences of child sexual abuse cases demonstrating the inhumane mind-set of the abusers, who have been barbaric in their approach towards young victims, is rising in the country. Children are becoming easy prey because of their tender age, physical vulnerabilities and inexperience of life and society.

There is a strong need to take stringent measures to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country, the proposed amendments to the said Act make provisions for enhancement of punishments for various offences so as to deter the perpetrators and ensure safety, security and dignified childhood for a child. It also empowers the Central Government to make rules for the manner of deleting or destroying or reporting about pornographic material in any form involving a child to the designated authority.

Major amendments to incorporated and passed by the Parliament are as follows:

Sections Amended

POSCO Act, 2012

POCSO (Amendment) Act, 2019

Section (2)(1) [Addition of new clause] ‘(da) “child pornography” means any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child which include photograph, video, digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child, and image created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict a child

Section 2 (b)

The words and expressions used herein and not defined but defined in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), the “Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (56 of 2000)” and the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000) shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the said Codes or the Acts. The words and expressions used herein and not defined but defined in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), the “Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015” (56 of 2000) and the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000) shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the said Codes or the Acts.

Section 4 (1) [Punishment increased]

Whoever commits penetrative sexual assault shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. Whoever commits penetrative sexual assault shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 4 [Insertion of new sub-sections]

“(2) Whoever commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below sixteen years of age shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of natural life of that person, and shall also be liable to fine.

 

(3) The fine imposed under sub-section (1) shall be just and reasonable and paid to the victim to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of such victim.”

Section 5

Section 6 [SUBSTITUTED]

Whoever, commits aggravated penetrative sexual assault, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine. “6. (1) Whoever commits aggravated penetrative sexual assault shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of natural life of that person, and shall also be liable to fine, or with death.

 

(2) The fine imposed under sub-section (1) shall be just and reasonable and paid to the victim to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of such victim.”

Section 9 [Insertion of new clause]

“(v) whoever persuades, induces, entices or coerces a child to get administered or administers or direct anyone to administer, help in getting administered any drug or hormone or any chemical substance, to a child with the intent that such child attains early sexual maturity;”

Section 14 [SUBSTITUTION]

“14. (1) Whoever uses a child or children for pornographic purposes shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years and shall also be liable to fine, and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years and also be liable to fine.

 

(2) Whoever using a child or children for pornographic purposes under sub-section (1), commits an offence referred to in Section 3 or Section 5 or Section 7 or Section 9 by directly participating in such pornographic acts, shall be punished for the said offences also under Section 4, Section 6, Section 8 and Section 10, respectively, in addition to the punishment provided in sub-section (1).”

Section 15 [SUBSTITUTED]

“15 (1) Any person, who stores or possesses pornographic material in any form involving a child, but fails to delete or destroy or report the same to the designated authority, as may be prescribed, with an intention to share or transmit child pornography, shall be liable to fine not less than five thousand rupees, and in the event of second or subsequent offence, with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees.

(2) Any person, who stores or possesses pornographic material in any form involving a child for transmitting or propagating or displaying or distributing in any manner at any time except for the purpose of reporting, as may be prescribed, or for use as evidence in court, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

(3) Any person, who stores or possesses pornographic material in any form involving a child for commercial purpose shall be punished on the first conviction with imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than three years which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both, and in the event of second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than five years which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.”

Section 34

Section 42

Where an act or omission constitutes an offence punishable under this Act and also under Sections 166-A, 354-A, 354-B, 354-C, 354-D, 370, 370-A, 375, 376, 4[376-A, 376-AB, 376-B, 376-C, 376-D, 376-DA, 376-DB], “376-E or Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code” (45 of 1860), then, notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, the offender found guilty of such offence shall be liable to punishment under this Act or under the Indian Penal Code as provides for punishment which is greater in degree. Where an act or omission constitutes an offence punishable under this Act and also under Sections 166-A, 354-A, 354-B, 354-C, 354-D, 370, 370-A, 375, 376, 4[376-A, 376-AB, 376-B, 376-C, 376-D, 376-DA, 376-DB], “376E, section 509 of the Indian Penal Code or section 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000” (45 of 1860), then, notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, the offender found guilty of such offence shall be liable to punishment under this Act or under the Indian Penal Code as provides for punishment which is greater in degree.

Section 45 [Re-lettered] sub-section (2) (a);

Addition of new clauses

“(a) the manner of deleting or destroying or reporting about pornographic material in any form involving a child to the designated authority under sub-section (1) of Section 15;

(aa) the manner of reporting about pornographic material in any form involving a child under sub-section (2) of Section 15;”.


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 06-08-2019]

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