POCSO Amendment Bill, With Death Penalty for Aggravated Sexual Assault, Gets Rajya Sabha Nod
File image of Parliament.
New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill entailing amendments to the POCSO Act by including death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, besides providing stringent punishments for other crimes against minors. Now the bill would be sent to the Lok Sabha for its approval.
The proposed changes in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act also provide for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani. To combat rising cases of child sex abuse, the Union Cabinet earlier this month approved amendments to strengthen the POCSO Act.
Applauding Derel O’Brien for sharing his own experience of sexual harassment, Smriti Irani on Wednesday talked about how much the incident leaves an imprint on the mind.
"At least 123 fast-courts have been sanctioned by the government especially for women. More than one lakh cases are pending across the country and 18 states have given consent to establish these courts. The government has sanctioned over Rs 700 crore for the expenditure and by 2021, we aim to form these courts," she added.
Irani said over 6 lakh sexual offenders have been registered under the National Sexual Offenders Registry (NSOR).
Raising to support the bill, Congress leader Vivek K Tankha said, "I welcome the bill. But the stringent provisions are not stopping such incidents."
He said the National Crime Record Bureau has no data on offences against children after 2016. He highlighted the poor conviction rate under the law and said that out of over one lakh such offences, the trial was completed in around 10,000 cases with conviction in 30 per cent cases.
AIADMK leader Vijila Sathyananth also supported the bill and demanded chemical castration of convicts who do such heinous crimes.
She also demanded that the budget allocated by the government under the women and child development be fully utilised as, despite making provision of good amounts, the funds remain largely unutilised.
She also demanded that all public buildings should have closed-circuit TV cameras and the entire expenses on treatment of such victims should be borne by the state. She said the medical examination of female victims in such cases should be done by lady doctors. She said the role of mental health professionals is also crucial in such cases.