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THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES BILL, 2012

 

 

The Protection of Children from Sexual Abuse has been passed in both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. Now it will become a law. It has been passed with the clauses that have come under criticism from child rights activists. The age of sexual consent continues to be 18 years in the law, which means that it opens up a possibility of criminalising consensual sexual acts before the age of 18 years.

See http://www.haqcrc.org/blogs/age-consent-catastrophe-tribune-monday-may-21-2012 for details on age of consent.

The law lays down Punishment for false complaint or false information. In a country where abuse and the abused are both stigmatised, where justice takes very long to come by, and the judicial process often leads to re-victimisation of the victims, there is very little reporting of cases of abuse. Fear of being punished for false reporting is bound to further discourage reporting of cases of abuse.

 There had been repeated suggestions that if the bill is to be implemented in its letter and spirit, the content must be made a part of the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act as this is what the police refer to as do the magistrates. Experience has shown that the police and often even the judiciary are not familiar with special laws. Indeed most police stations do not even have copies of these acts.

For comments on the bill please watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_btLEDFW5aA&feature=youtu.be

A latest version of the bill as it has been passed is attached.