New Delhi, Jan 8: Government introduced amendments to the POCSO Act.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeks to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provide for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences.
"The said Act is gender neutral and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as a matter of paramount importance at every stage so as to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child," said the statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.
The Government on Tuesday introduced in Lok Sabha amendments to the POCSO Act, which provides for a death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, making it gender neutral and introducing provisions against child pornography and for enhancing punishment for certain offences.
The Act defines the child as any person below the age of 18 years and the amendments are aimed at discouraging the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent.
The Bill proposes a fine of not less than Rs 1,000 for not destroying or deleting or reporting the pornographic material involving a child. In the case of subsequent offence, the fine would be not less than Rs 5,000 crore.
The offender can be further penalised with 3-year jail term or fine or both for transmitting, propagating, administrating such material.
"In the recent past incidences of child sexual abuse cases demonstrating the inhumane mindset of the abusers who have been barbaric in their approach towards young victims is rising in the country. Children are becoming easy prey because of their tender age, physical vulnerabilities and inexperience of life and society," the Bill said.
It said there is a strong need to take stringent measures to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country.