Sexual abuse of minor children could attract life imprisonment

Sexual abuse of minor children could attract life imprisonment

Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011 which provides for stringent punishment, including life imprisonment, for penetrative sexual assault on minors aged 16-18 years.

The bill, passed after a brief discussion, also provides for special courts for speedy trial of such offences.

The provisions of the bill extend to the whole of the  country except Jammu and Kashmir.Introducing the bill, women and child development minister Krishna Tirath said that the legislation has been necessitated by the immense increase in incidents of child abuse, particularly in NCR region of Delhi.

She cited a study by the ministry in 13 states which found that 33 per cent of children reported being sexually exploited. “...where penetrative sexual assault is committed against a child between 16 to 18 years of age, it shall be considered whether the consent for such an act has been obtained against the will of the child or by use of violence, force, threat to use force, intoxicants, drugs, impersonation, fraud, deceit, coercion, undue influence, threats, when the child is sleeping or unconscious or where the child does not have the capacity to understand the nature of the act or to resist it,” the bill read.

The bill also provides for stringent punishment for the perpetrators of such crimes. "Whoever commits penetrative sexual assault on children shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable for fine.”

It said, "whoever uses a child for pornographic purposes shall be liable for rigorous imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall also be liable for fine; and in the event of second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years with fine”.

Smriti Irani (BJP) said the matter was “sensitive” as such offences were many a time perpetrated by relatives of the victims.

She demanded adequate fund for relief and rehabilitation of victims.
D Raja (CPI), T N Seema (CPI-M), Ramkripal Yadav (RJD) and Bimla Kashyap (BJP) supported the bill.

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