Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,2012 came into existence on 14 November 2012. It was enacted by the Government of India, to safeguard children from sexual abuse, sexual offences and harassment. It is an act with a crucial legal framework in India enacted to fight against the issue of child abuse. This act was established to provide a strong legal foundation for the protection of children under
the age of 18 from sexual offences. The act acknowledges the vulnerability of children to such crimes and aims to ensure the safety and well-being of children from such harassment and abuse. This act creates a legal framework to prosecute those who commit such heinous and prohibited acts and protect the rights of victims. This act consists of gender-neutral provisions. In this act gender is immaterial. POSCO Act is
divided into 46 sections. This act safeguards the interests and well-being of children.
Prohibited acts- It means any of the actions or occurrences which form the basis for disqualification under the code, or under the Certifications.
Sexual Abuse- If any adult engages in sexual activity with a child.
Gender neutral- It refers to the idea of equality in the recognition of the rights of all individuals irrespective of gender.
Sexual harassment- when a person utters any word or makes any sound or any gesture or exhibits any object or part of the body with the intention that such word or sound shall get heard, or the child shall see such gesture or object or part of the body.
One of the basic needs of a person is to live in a safe and secure surrounding. Children are an important part of the country which is also considered the future of the country. This is also a fact that children are that group who frequently suffer from different types of exploitation. In this different kind of exploitation sexual exploitation is one of the major factors. And existing laws were not enough to protect children and to criminalize this harassment and sexual abuse. Even these kinds of unnatural offences are not provided in existing laws. In 2012, the prevention of children from sexual offences was introduced by the legislation. This act consists of 46 sections, 9 chapters and 1 schedule. This act provides children with a child-friendly judicial system. Also, this act includes “special courts” for the victim's child in which the victim is allowed to record his/her statement on camera in very stable and child-friendly circumstances.
NEED OF THE ACT:-
In a world where children are the most precious asset of a country. Child abuse is rising all over the world as well as in India. As per the statistical data, India is one of the top five countries in the world in terms of sexual offences involving children. And Indian legislation lacks in dealing with such kinds of offences.
There are no special or specific rules or legislation to deal with male children. In IPC, section 375 deals with rape and section 376 deals with rape committed against a female. It does not talk about the forcible intercourse with a boy, which is also considered as a form of rape. This act also provides more humane methods of dealing with victims. As a result of it, the number of cases related to child abuse reported has more than doubled.
RELEVANCE IN INDIA:-
This act is relevant in India because there is no such law to protect the rights of children. But with the introduction of this act, this loophole in the judicial system was filled. Also, this act talks about the term ‘gender neutral’ which in a way supports the concept of equality. POCSO Act also introduces child-friendly ways of investigation and judicial proceedings. The police wear casual in place of uniform while recording the statement of the victim. Also, this act defines different forms of sexual abuse: including penetrative and non-penetrative as well as sexual assault and pornography. This act provides for the establishment of special courts for the trial of offences under the act.
In this act, the maximum punishment is life imprisonment or the death penalty. Also, the act provides a minimum punishment of three years to the accused. It provides higher punishments as compared to IPC. Many safeguards are also available for the children under this act, which generally are not provided by other existing acts. Like, the accused must be always away from the child at the time of testifying. Trial without
disclosing the identity of the child. The child may have a parent or other trusted person present at the time of testifying. The case must be disposed of within one year of the period from the time the offence is reported.