POCSO Act, 2012
Recently the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, 2012 has completed 10 years of implementation.
- It may be noted that the ‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012 – POCSO’ was implemented on the occasion of 14th November (Children’s Day).
- It is designed with the aim of protecting children from sexual crimes such as sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography.
- Even after the implementation of POCSO in the year 2012, in view of the increase in the cases of crimes related to child abuse, in the year 2019, along with several other amendments in the POCSO Act, a provision for capital punishment was made in such crimes.
Salient Features of the Act
- Provisions have been made for a child-friendly system for reporting, recording evidence and conducting investigations. Provision has also been made for special courts for speedy trial of crimes.
- It is a gender neutral law. This means that there will be no discrimination on the basis of gender in cases of sexual harassment of boys and girls. The law prescribes severe punishment depending on the gravity of the offence.
- A child is defined as any person below the age of 18
- Provision has been made to set up special fast track courts for speedy trial.
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and its equivalent institutions in the states monitor the implementation of this Act.
Challenges related to POCSO Act, 2012
- The pendency of cases is very high (about 85%).
- Covid-19 has played a big role in this. The conviction rate is also very low (only around 14%).
- Exclusive Special Court and Special Public Prosecutor are not available.
- Procedural lapses come to the fore during the course of investigation. Not only this, there is also a lack of arrangements for the protection and support of the victims.
- Several High Courts have been questioning the upper age of consent under the Act.
Source – The Hindu