POCSO Act Amended 

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NEW DELHI — The government on Friday approved amendments to the POCSO Act 2012, to bring punishments for sexual assaults against boys on par with those against girls, including the provision of death penalty when a child is under 12-years-old.

Following the outrage over gangrapes in Unnao and Kathua earlier this year, the government had brought an Ordinance in April and followed it by passing a Bill in Parliament during Monsoon Session. The Bill was introduced to amend the Indian Penal Code to provide death penalty for gangrape of a girl under 12 years, and 20 years in jail to death penalty for rape of a girl under 12 years, among others.

Provisions were also added to provide imprisonment for the rest of one’s natural life for gangrape of a girl under 16 years, while rape of a girl in the same age bracket would be punishable with jail of 20 years up to life imprisonment.

However, the absence of changes to Prevention of Child Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, which deals with sexual crimes against both girls and boys, meant that similar crimes committed against boys carried lighter punishment as those committed against girls. The latest set of changes approved by the Union Cabinet address these anomalies.

The Union Cabinet approved changes to Section 6 of the POCSO Act, which deals with punishments for aggravated penetrative sexual assault, enhancing the punishment of 10 years to life imprisonment to 20 years to imprisonment for remainder of a person’s natural life or with death.

 

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