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Sexual intent is key to POCSO Act: SC

  • IASbaba
  • November 19, 2021
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Sexual intent is key to POCSO Act: SC

Part of: Prelims and GS-I – Problems faced by children and women 

Context The Supreme Court quashed a Bombay High Court decision to acquit a man charged with assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) solely on the grounds that he groped the child over her clothes without “skin-to-skin” contact. 

  • The SC said that the act of touching a sexual part of the child’s body with sexual intent will not be undervalued.
  • The judge had argued that the High Court order would set a “very dangerous precedent” and cripple the intention of the POCSO Act to punish sexual offenders. 

Salient features of the POCSO Act

  • “Children” according to the Act are individuals aged below 18 years. The Act is gender-neutral.
  • Different forms of sexual abuse including but not limited to sexual harassment, pornography, penetrative & non-penetrative assault are defined in the Act.
  • The investigation process should be child-friendly and the case should be disposed of within one year from the date of reporting.
  • The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences and matters related to it.
  • Section 45: The power to make rules lies with the central government.
  • The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) monitor the Act’s implementation. Both are statutory bodies.
  • Section 42 A: In case of inconsistency with provisions of any other law, the POCSO Act shall override such provisions.

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