With shocking rapes in Kathua and Unnao brought into focus the safety of minor girls in India, the Union Cabinet on Friday approved an amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, seeking to ensure death penalty for aggravated sexual abuse of children. The amendment further levies heavy fine for not deleting, reporting and destroying child pornographic material. The POCSO Act, which was originally enacted in 2012, was later modified to make it as foolproof as possible.
Briefing the media, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "Our children should be protected from sexual offences. Now, those taking advantage of children in heinous ways will be severely punished".
Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad: Cabinet has approved death penalty in aggravated sexual offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. pic.twitter.com/E1JB8xCOOq— ANI (@ANI) December 28, 2018
Another important amendment approved by the Cabinet was to protect children from being abused in natural calamities and disasters or administered hormones to attain early sexual maturity for purpose of assault, Prasad added.
The POSCO Act vows to protect the children from offences of sexual assault, harassment and pornography for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children. As per the Act, a child refers to any person below eighteen years of age. It regards the best interests and welfare of the child as a matter of paramount importance at every stage. It also seeks to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child.
In case of aggravated assault criminal laws punish more severely due to its level of seriousness. Factors which raise an assault to an aggravated assault typically include the use of a weapon, the status of the victim, the intent of the perpetrator, and the degree of injury caused.