Child sexual abuse laws in India
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Child sexual abuse laws in India have been enacted as part of the nation's child protection policies. The Parliament of India passed the 'Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Bill, 2011' regarding child sexual abuse on May 22, 2012 into Act. The rules formulated by the government in accordance with the law have also been notified on the November 2012 and the law has become ready for implementation. Fifty three percent of children in India face some form of child sexual abuse. The need for stringent law has been felt many times.
Law Before the 2012 legislation was passed
- I.P.C. (1860) 375- Rape
- I.P.C. (1860) 354- Outraging the modesty of a woman
- I.P.C. (1860) 377- Unnatural offences
However, the IPC could not effectively protect the child due to various loopholes like:
- IPC 375 doesn't protect male victims or anyone from sexual acts of penetration other than "traditional" peno-vaginal intercourse.
- IPC 354 lacks a statutory definition of "modesty". It carries a weak penalty and is a compoundable offence. Further, it does not protect the "modesty" of a male child.
- In IPC 377, the term "unnatural offences" is not defined. It only applies to victims penetrated by their attacker's sex act, and is not designed to criminalize sexual abuse of children.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act
The new Act provides for a variety of offenses under which an accused can be punished.
It defines a child as a person under age of 18 years. It encompasses the biological age of the child and silent on the mental age considerations. A recent case in SC has been filed where a women of biological age 38yrs but mental age 6yrs was raped. The victim's advocate argues that "failure to consider the mental age will be an attack on the very purpose of act." SC has reserved the case for judgement and is determined to interpret whether the 2012 act encompasses the mental age or whether only biological age is inclusive in the definition.
It recognizes forms of penetration other than peno-vaginal penetration and criminalizes acts of immodesty against children too. The act is gender-neutral. With respect to pornography, the Act criminalizes even watching or collection of pornographic content involving children. The Act makes abettment of child sexual abuse an offense. It also provides for various procedural reforms, making the tiring process of trial in India considerably easier for children. The Act has been criticized as its provisions seem to criminalize consensual sexual intercourse between two people below the age of 18. The 2001 version of the Bill did not punish consensual sexual activity if one or both partners were above 16 years.
- "Parliament passes bill to protect children from sexual abuse". NDTV. May 22, 2012.
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Kerala Medico-legal Society website
- Law for Protecting Children from Sexual Offences
- "The sounds of silence: Child sexual abuse in India". The Morung Express. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- "Need stringent laws to curb child sexual abuse: Tirath". News.in.msn.com. 2012-03-053 March 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012. Check date values in:
- Taneja, Richa (13 November 2010). "Activists bemoan lack of laws to deal with child sexual abuse". DNA India. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Need stricter laws to deal with child abuse cases: Court". Indian Express. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-1414 May 2012. Check date values in:
- "CHILDLINE India Foundation : Documents - Cause ViewPoint - CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE- The Law and the Lacuna". Childlineindia.org.in. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 pdf
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Chapter 2
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Chapter 3
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Chapter 4
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Chapter 5
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Chapter 6
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Chapter 7
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Chapter 8
- "Good act, bad provision". The Hindu. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2014.