Union Cabinet Approves Amendment In POCSO Act

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Friday approved the proposal for Amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children.

Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad informed that the Cabinet which met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved death penalty in aggravated sexual offences under the POCSO Act.

Salient Features of the Ordinance

  • Minimum Punishment for Rape made Ten Years
  • Minimum punishment of twenty years to a person committing rape on a woman aged below 16.
  • Minimum Punishment of 20 years rigorous imprisonment and maximum Death penalty/Life Imprisonment for committing rape on a girl aged below 12.
  • Fine imposed shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim
  • Police officer committing rape anywhere shall be awarded rigorous imprisonment of minimum ten years.
  • Investigation in rape cases to be completed within two months.
  • No Anticipatory bail can be granted to a person accused of rape of girls of age less than sixteen years.
  • Appeals in rape cases to be disposed within six months

 Amendment to IPC

  • Section 376 IPC: Minimum Punishment for Rape has been made Ten Years. It was Seven Years earlier. The Maximum punishment remains the same, i.e. Life imprisonment.
  • A new clause (3) has been added to Section 376, which prescribes the Minimum punishment of twenty years to a person committing rape on a woman under Sixteen years of Age.
  • A new Section 376AB has been inserted which prescribes the minimum punishment of twenty years rigorous imprisonment to a person committing rape on a woman less than twelve years of Age. Such a person can be awarded capital sentence as well.
  • Section 376DA and 376DB provides minimum punishment of life imprisonment for persons involved in gang rape of woman aged less than 16 years and 12 years respectively.
  • Death penalty is also prescribed for persons involved in gang rape of a girl of age less than 12 years.
  • It is also provided in these sections, that such fine shall be imposed which shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim and the fine imposed is to be paid to the victim.
  • Section 376 (2) (a), the sentence “within the limits of the police station to which such police officer is appointed” has been omitted. This omission implies, no matter where a Police officer commits rape, he is to be punished with rigorous imprisonment of minimum ten years.

 Amendment to CrPC

  • The investigation in relation to in all Rape cases may be completed within three months from the date on which the information was recorded by the officer in charge of the police station.
  • The provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure have also been amended to insert a subsection which prescribes six months time to dispose of an appeal in rape cases.
  • No Anticipatory bail can be granted to a person accused of rape of girls of age less than sixteen years.
  • New Sub Section has been added to Section 439 which mandates presence of informant or any person authorized by him at the time of hearing application for bail to a person accused of rape of girls of age less than sixteen years.

Amendment to POCSO Act and Evidence Act

Section 42 of the POCSO Act has been also amended to include newly inserted IPC provisions section 376AB, section 376DA, and section 376DB. Section 53A of the Evidence Act that deals with evidence of character or previous sexual experience not relevant in certain cases and Section 146 of the Act that deals with evidence of character or previous sexual experience not relevant in certain cases, has also been amended to include newly inserted IPC provisions section 376AB, section 376DA, section 376DB.

With Inputs from livelaw.in

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