New Delhi: Seeking to curb the growing menace of child abuse, the Centre on Wedn-esday approved amendments in the Pocso Act, including death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children apart from providing stringent punishments for other crimes against them.
The amendments in the legislation were okayed during the meeting of the Union Cabinet, which also cleared a Bill providing a mechanism for social, economic and educational empowerment of transgenders by defining their identity and rights to prohibit discrimination against them.
The proposed changes in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act also provide for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.
The modification in the law will address the need for stringent measures against rising incidents of child sex abuse in the country and combat the menace of relatively new kind of crimes, official sources said.
The strong penal provisions will act as a deterrent, official sources said.
“It intends to protect the interests of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity. The amendment is aimed at establishing clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof,” it said.
The government, in a statement, said the amendments in Sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 14, 15, 34,42 and 45 of the POCSO Act, 2012 are being made to address the aspects of child sexual abuse in an appropriate manner.
“Section-4, 5 and 6 are proposed to be amended to provide option of stringent punishment, including death penalty, for committing sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault crime on a child to protect the children from sexual abuse,” it said.
The amendments are also proposed in Section-9 to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and other similar situations and in cases where children are administered, in any way, any hormone or any chemical substance, to attain early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault, the statement said.
“Section-14 and Section-15 of the POCSO Act, 2012 are also proposed to be amended to address the menace of child pornography. It is proposed to levy fine for not destroying or deleting or reporting the pornographic material involving a child with an intention to share or transmit it,” official sources said....