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New Amendment Bill Seeking Broader Definition, Stringent Punishment for Child Pornography to be Tabled in Parliament

Those accused of inducing early sexual maturity in children will be liable to a jail term of at least 5 years.

Zeba Warsi | CNN-News18

Updated:July 12, 2019, 11:57 PM IST

New Delhi: In an amendment to the existing POCSO Act, the ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed to expand the definition of ‘child pornography’. Once the bill is passed the changes are going to include photographs, digital or computer generated pornographic material punishable under the POCSO Act.

In an attempt to make the Act more stringent, the ministry said even if someone pretends to be a child in a pornographic content, it will be punishable under the Act that protects children from sexual offences.

The ministry has also expanded the scope of punishment for inducing ‘early sexual maturity’ in children. The offenders will be liable to a jail term of at least 5 years.

In another significant move the states have come together to carve safe spaces for children.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the then Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Virendra Kumar on January 8, 2019.

The Bill amends the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The Act seeks to protect children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.

People who store or possess pornographic material in any form but fail to delete it, destroy it or report it to designated authority with the intent of circulation will be punishable, Monideepa Mukherjee, spokesperson of the WCD ministry said.

While the first time offenders will be slapped with a minimum fine of Rs 5,000, the second instance will be fined minimum Rs 10,000.

The Ministry has suggested the National Crime Records Bureau to expand data points on Child Sexual Abuse. "In a meeting with the NCRB, WCD suggested to collect data on how many perpetrators are known to the victim and in what capacity," Mukherjee said.

Two recent cases of child pornography have emerged. In Kerala a person was arrested for allegedly running a child porn chat group and an online porn channel.

In Delhi, CBI arrested one of the five suspects who ran the WhatsApp group for allegedly circulating poronographic videos and photos of children. The group consisted of 119 members from 40 countries.

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