Child abuse in India is a burning issue all over the world. This article is for POSCO Act and criminal law amendment bill 2018.
Criminal Law Amendment bill 2018 was passed on Parliament that awards the death penalty to convicts of child rapes in India.
This bill awards the death penalty for the rape of children under the age of 12.
As per a report by child rights by CRY, every 15 minutes a sexual offense is committed against the child in India and has been increasing by more than 500% in the past decade.
As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a report on Statistics on the rape of women and children, 94% of the rapist are well known to the child.
The conviction rate of these crimes is very low, that 3% of the total number of cases, by NCRB report 2016.
The main causes of the low conviction rate are the lack of infrastructure and manpower in the criminal justice system.
Failure of POSCO Act – Posco act was enacted in 2012, despite the Posco act, there has been a non-reduction in the crime rate against children.
Slow Judiciary – Cases in courts last for several years, and even decades due to the storage of judges and infrastructure. The investigation, evidence submission do not happen on time.
The attitude of People and Politicians – Boys making mistakes are common and cannot be punished with death also everyone blames women. This is the attitude of Politicians and people.
A report titled “Everyone blames me” in 2017, says that the Survivors from the marginalized community hard to register complaints.
Most often the rape survivors were humiliated by police and also at the medical center in name medical examinations.
Rape survivors are scared of these complications and do not file a complaint against people who commit sexual violence.
Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018
After Unnao and Kathua minor girl rape cases become National news, an ordinance promulgated on April 21, 2018, a bill to replace the Criminal Law by Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018.
This will amend relevant sections of the IPC and CrPC and also POSCO Act 2012. The bill provides time-bound investigations in cases of child rape.
The investigation of child rape must be completed within two months. If the victim is under the age of 12, the culprit will face a minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of the death penalty.
Minimum of 20 years of imprisonment, in the cases of rape against children aged 12 and 16 Minimum of 10 years of imprisonment, in the case of rape against a victim aged 16 to 18.
Life imprisonment or death for repeated offenders. However, the rape of boys remained unchanged.
This resulted in a greater difference in punishment for the rape of minor boys and girls.
POSCO Act -2012 – Posco Amendment Bill
Union Cabinet has recently approved amendments to strengthen POSCO Act 2012. The amendment includes adding the death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children.
Section 14 and 15 of the Posco Act 2012 address the menace of Child Pornography. Also, the Government set up 1023 fast-track courts for speedy trials of cases of sexual assault on women and children.
Supreme Court also has registered Public Interest Litigation (PIL) suo moto to shape the clear national response of showing zero tolerance towards sexual assault of children.
First time in history the death penalty has been introduced for sexual crimes against children.
In cases of aggravated sexual assault, the bill provides not less than 20 years of rigorous imprisonment extending up to the rest of natural life or death and fine.
The original version of the POSCO act only has 10 years of imprisonment. If there is penetrative sexual assault on children below the age of 16 years, there will rigorous imprisonment with not less than 20 years extendable to the remainder of natural life.
The first time there defined, “Definition of Child Pornography” in Section 14 and Section 15.
This is because the offenders use the loopholes of the IT Act and get away.
“The IT Act does not cover sexually explicit photographs of children, it only covers the digital content”.
The FIR should be filed within 30 days.
Challenges regarding Child Abuse
Even the literate were not aware of such laws, the original POSCO Act itself was good enough to stop sexual assault on children but the cases are increasing alarmingly.
There is a controversy in providing the Death penalty. In some cases, only rape is done and in some cases, rape and murder are done.
When we give the Death penalty to all the cases, it creates deterrence that One would probably continue doing several rapes as anyway he will get the death penalty.
Also, it will make him think it is better to kill the victim and hide the evidence to get escape from the punishment.
To prevent these scenarios the death penalty is not given to all sexual assault cases.
Posco act gives the Judges of the Posco courts the power to announce interim medical compensation for relief.
There are cases where medical compensation has reached the victim only after the victim’s death.
Setting up more fast track courts. Awareness generation among the public. The special cell at the police station, similar to the women’s cell.
Children should be educated to know about their own rights. To provide confidence to the children to report incidences to commit by his/her parent, a person of trust like a teacher, doctor, etc.