Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012
Why in news :
- The Assam Cabinet has decided to book men who marry minor girls under stringent laws prescribing imprisonment from two years to life.
Data from NFHS-5 :
- According to National Family Health Survey5 report, an average of 31.8% of girls in Assam get married at the “prohibited age” and 11.7% of them become mothers before adulthood.
- The numbers for national average are 23.3% and 6.8%, respectively.
About POCSO ACT, 2012 :
The act seeks to provide for stringent punishment to those engaging in sexual crimes against children, death penalty in cases of aggravated sexual assault, besides levying fines and imprisonment, to curb child pornography.
India enacted the act as it is a member to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992.
Salient features of the act :
- The POCSO act aims at making offences against children ‘gender neutral’.
- According to the act the children are defined as the one who are less than 18 years of age.
- Sexual assault is deemed to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances such as when the child is mentally ill.
- Besides that when the abuse is committed by the person in a position of trust such as a doctor, teacher, policeman, family member.
- The Act also assigns a policeman in the role of child protector during the investigation process to avoid the further victimization of the child.
- The Act also provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences and matters connected with it.
Syllabus : Prelims + Mains; GS2 – Governance