POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019
The Rajya Sabha has passed the POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019. It will now be sent to the president for his approval before becoming the law. With it’s passage, the government hopes to impose a stringent check on the rising crimes against children and the strong provisions for crimes in the bill, as per the government, will act as a deterrent against the future crimes.
What has the bill changed?
- The new bill seeks to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 which was enacted to protect children from offenses such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.
- The bill has increased the punishment specified for penetrative sexual assault in the Act from 7 years to 10 years.
- In cases of crime committed against children with the age of less than 16, it increases the imprisonment to 20 years in prison and a fine.
- The bill has also modified the conditions for classifying a crime as an aggravated penetrative sexual assault and increased it proscribed punishment from a maximum of 10 years to the new punishment specified in the bill as a minimum of 10-20 years and a maximum of the death penalty.
- The new bill has defined child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit content which involves a child. This may any photographs, videos, digital media or even computer-generated image (CGI) that is indistinguishable from an actual child.
- The new bill has also criminalized the storage of child pornography and recommended a punishment of 3-5 years and a fine.