WCD ministry to seek amendment to Pocso Act for death penalty to convicts of rape of minors below 12-yrs

WCD ministry to seek amendment to Pocso Act for death penalty to convicts of rape of minors below 12-yrs

The women and child development (WCD) ministry has decided to propose an amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012 for handing down death penalty to convicts of rape of children below twelve years.

The ministry is expected to prepare a cabinet note in this regard and send it to the law ministry for its opinion on Monday.

The move comes amid a nationwide outrage over rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir and "other cases of rape" of minors.

"I have been deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua and all the recent rape cases that have happened with the children. I and my ministry intend to bring an amendment to the Pocso  Act, asking for death penalty for rape of children below twelve years," WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said in a video clip posted on her official Twitter account on Friday.

Incidentally, the Pocso  Act, 2012, which seeks to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provides for the establishment of special courts for trial of such offences, is not applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

An official of the ministry said a cabinet note proposing an amendment to the Act for handing down death penalty to the convicts of rape of minors below 12 years would be prepared and circulated to various ministries including the law ministry for their opinion on Monday.

"We have to examine the Pocso  Act to propose an amendment in it for handing down death penalty to the convicts of rape of minors below 12 years," WCD secretary Rakesh Srivastava said.

The ministry prepares for seeking an amendment to the Act at a time when the BJP is under attack over accusations against its MLA of raping a 17-year-old girl in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh last year.

The Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to arrest BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in connection with the case.

 

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