UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act)
With the intent to effectively address the evil of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) was passed by the parliament in the year 2012.
Salient features of the Act
- “Children” according to the Act are individuals aged below 18 years. The Act is gender neutral.
- Different forms of sexual abuse including but not limited to sexual harassment, pornography, penetrative & non-penetrative assault are defined in the Act.
- Sexual assault is deemed to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances such as, when the child is mentally ill. Also when the abuse is committed by the person in a position of trust such as doctor, teacher, policeman, family member.
- Adequate provisions are made to avoid re-victimization of the Child at the hands of judicial system. The Act assigns a policeman in the role of child protector during the investigation process.
- The Act stipulates that such steps must be taken which makes the investigation process as child-friendly as possible and the case is disposed off within one year from the date of reporting of the offence.
- The Act provides for establishment of Special Courts for trial of such offences and matters related to it.
- Under section 45 of the Act, the power to make rules lies with the central government.
- To monitor the implementation of the Act, National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) have been made the designated authority. Both being statutory bodies.
- Section 42 A of the Act provides that in case of inconsistency with provisions of any other law, POCSO Act shall override such provisions.
- The Act calls for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. A false complaint with intent to defame a person is punishable under the Act.
An online complaint management system, POCSO e-box was launched in New Delhi by the Union Ministry of Women and Child development in order to facilitate easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely disposal of the cases under POCSO Act 2012.