CITIZENS OF #MEGHALAYA NEED TO LEARN ABOUT THE #LAW PROTECTING #CHILDREN
With cases like Julius Dorphang’s aggravated sexual assault on a Child and use of Guest House owned by HDR Lyngdoh, home minister of Meghalaya, for child sex trafficking, it is important to know about POCSO 2012.
Question: When did POCSO Act 2012 come into force?
Answer: The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 came into force on 14 November 2012. The Act was passed in the Indian Parliament in May 2012. The Act under its ambit defines child as a person below the age-group of 18 and is gender neutral and have a clear definition for all types of sexual abuses like sexual harassment, penetrative or non-penetrative sexual abuse, and pornography.
Question: What happens if someone hides the information of the commission of the offence?
Answer: If someone fails/hides the information of the commission /apprehension of the offence shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year with fine.
Question: How it is different from other IPC provisions?
Answer: Sexual offences are currently covered under different sections of IPC. The IPC does not provide for all types of sexual offences against children and, more importantly, does not distinguish between adult and child victims.
Question: Who is a child in POCSO Act 2012?
Answer: The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years and provides protection to all children under the age of 18 years from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography.
Question: What is special in POCSO ACT 2012?
Answer: The Act provides for stringent punishments, which have been graded as per the gravity of the offence. The punishments range from simple to rigorous imprisonment of varying periods. There is also provision for fine, which is to be decided by the Court.
Question: What is an “aggravated” offence?
Answer: An offence is treated as “aggravated” when committed by a person in a position of trust or authority of child such as a member of security forces, police officer, public servant, etc.
Question: What are the punishments for various offences in the POCSO ACT 2012?
Answer: Punishments for Offences covered in the Act are:
a Penetrative Sexual Assault (Section 3) – Not less than seven years which may extend to imprisonment for life, and fine (Section 4)
b Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault (Section 5) – Not less than ten years which may extend to imprisonment for life, and fine (Section 6)
c Sexual Assault (Section 7) – Not less than three years which may extend to five years, and fine (Section 8)
d Aggravated Sexual Assault (Section 9) – Not less than five years which may extend to seven years, and fine (Section 10)
e Sexual Harassment of the Child (Section 11) – Three years and fine (Section 12)
f Use of Child for Pornographic Purposes (Section 13) – Five years and fine and in the event of subsequent conviction, seven years and fine (Section 14 (1))
Question: Where will the cases of the POCSO ACT 2012 be tried?
Answer: The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for trial of offences under the Act, keeping the best interest of the child as of paramount importance at every stage of the judicial process. The possibility of establishment of Special Courts for trial of offences under the law has also been provided for. Also, the Special Court is to complete the trial within a period of one year, as far as possible.
Question: Whether the POCSO ACT 2012 has incorporated the child friendly procedures?
Answer: The Act incorporates child friendly procedures for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and trial of offences.
Question: Whether the POCSO ACT 2012 has recognized the intent to commit an offence?
Answer: The Act recognizes that the intent to commit an offence, even when unsuccessful for whatever reason, needs to be penalized. The attempt to commit an offence under the Act has been made liable for punishment for upto half the punishment prescribed for the commission of the offence. An important step forward is also the recognition of the intent of committing an offence, which has also been provided for with the possibility of punishment of up to half the punishment that has been provided for the actual committing of the crime.
Question: What are the specifications of the POCSO ACT 2012?
Answer: The Act incorporates child friendly procedures for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and trial of offences. These include:
• Recording the statement of the child at the residence of the child or at the place of his choice, preferably by a woman police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector. Evidence has to be recorded within 30 days
• No child to be detained in the police station in the night for any reason.
• Police officer to not be in uniform while recording the statement of the child
• The statement of the child to be recorded as spoken by the child
• Assistance of an interpreter or translator or an expert as per the need of the child
• Assistance of special educator or any person familiar with the manner of communication of the child in case child is disabled
• Medical examination of the child to be conducted in the presence of the parent of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence.
• In case the victim is a girl child, the medical examination shall be conducted by a woman doctor.
• Frequent breaks for the child during trial
• Child not to be called repeatedly to testify
• No aggressive questioning or character assassination of the child
• In-camera trial of cases
Question: Whether the abetment of the offence is punishable in the POCSO ACT 2012?
Answer: The Act also provides for punishment for abetment of the offence, which is the same as for the commission of the offence. This would cover trafficking of children for sexual purposes.
Question: On whom lies the burden of proof in the heinous cases of POCSO ACT 2012?
Answer: For the more heinous offences of Penetrative Sexual Assault, Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault, the burden of proof is shifted on the accused. This provision has been made keeping in view the greater vulnerability and innocence of children.
Question: What is the role of the SJPU in the POCSO ACT 2012?
Answer: To provide for relief and rehabilitation of the child, as soon as the complaint is made to the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or local police, these will make immediate arrangements to give the child, care and protection such as admitting the child into shelter home or to the nearest hospital within twenty-four hours of the report. The SJPU or the local police are also required to report the matter to the Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours of recording the complaint, for long term rehabilitation of the child.
Question: What is the duty of the Central and State Governments in spreading the awareness of the act among civil society?
Answer: The Act casts a duty on the Central and State Governments to spread awareness through media including the television, radio and the print media at regular intervals to make the general public, children as well as their parents and guardians aware of the provisions of this Act.
Question: Who will monitor the implementation of the Act?
Answer: The 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 to monitor the implementation of the Act.
Question: Who can make the necessary changes in the ACT?
Answer: Section 45 of the Act allows the Union Government to make the necessary changes in the Act, whenever and wherever applicable. the power to make rules rests with the Central Government. The rules framed under the Act provide for qualifications and experience of interpreters, translators, special educators, and experts; arrangements for care and protection and emergency medical treatment of the child; compensation payable to a child who has been the victim of a sexual offence; and the manner of periodic monitoring of the provisions of the Act by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights.The Act has also defined the facts like qualification and experience of the translators, interpreters, special educators, experts, arrangement for protection and care at times of emergencies and emergency treatment of child as well as the Compensation amount that is payable to any victim of sexual abuse.
Question: Whether documentation or magisterial requisition be demanded in the emergency medical facility to the child?
Answer: The Act has also made it clear that under situations in which the child who is being taken for the medical facility on an emergency factor no documentation or magisterial requisition would be demanded before the treatment.
Question: Is there any compensation awarded to the subject as the consequence of the abuse?
Answer:The Rules laid down in the Act also had defined the criterion of awarding the compensations by the special court that includes loss of educational and employment opportunities along with disability, disease or pregnancy suffered by the subject as the consequence of the abuse. This compensation would be awarded at the interim stage as well as after the trial ends.
Question: Why such act was required in India?
Answer: The Bill which remained pending for a long time is a necessity in a country where 40 percent of the population is below the age of 18. Also, in the absence of stringent laws against Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), over 53 per cent children surveyed in 2007 stated that they had experienced one or more forms of sexual abuse.
Question: Is disclosing the name of the child in media is punishable?
Answer: Disclosing the name of the child in the media is a punishable offence, punishable by up to one year.
Question: Is reporting of the commission of the crime mandatory?
Answer: In keeping with the best international child protection standards, the Act provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences and is made punishable under sec-21 of the POCSO Act