Parliament today passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, POCSO, 2019 with the Lok Sabha approving it today unanimously. The Rajya Sabha has already passed the bill.
The bill seeks to enhance punishment for sexual offences against children, with a provision of death penalty.
To curb child pornography, the Bill provides that those who use a child for pornographic purposes should be punished with imprisonment up to five years and fine.
However, in the event of second or subsequent conviction, the punishment would be up to seven years and fine.
The Bill defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including photograph, video, digital or computer generated image indistinguishable from an actual child.
According to the amendment bill, those committing penetrative sexual assaults on a child below 16 years of age would be punished with imprisonment up to 20 years, which might extend to life imprisonment as well as fine.
In case of aggravated penetrative sexual assault, the bill increases the minimum punishment from ten years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment to death penalty.
Replying to the debate, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said, the government’s priority is to ensure that justice is delivered to every child in the country.
She said, sexual harassment is covered under POCSO. She said, government has sanctioned over one thousand fast track courts for speedy disposal of pending cases under POCSO. She said, 18 states have consented to set up fast track courts.
They will be established within two years. Mrs Irani said, six lakh sexual offenders have been registered under the National Database on Sexual Offenders. Members from various political parties including Congress, TDP, TMC and BSP participated in the discussion.