Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, has been passed by the
Lok Sabha today, 22nd May, 2012. The Bill was earlier passed by the
Rajya Sabha on 10th May, 2012.
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 has been drafted to
strengthen the legal provisions for the protection of children from sexual
abuse and exploitation. For the first time, a special law has been passed to
address the issue of sexual offences against children.
offences are currently covered under different sections of IPC. The IPC does
not provide for all types of sexual offences against children and, more
importantly, does not distinguish between adult and child victims.
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 defines a child as any
person below the age of 18 years and provides protection to all children under
the age of 18 years from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and
pornography. These offences have been clearly defined for the first time in
law. The Act provides for stringent punishments, which have been graded as per
the gravity of the offence. The punishments range from simple to rigorous
imprisonment of varying periods. There is also provision for fine, which is to
be decided by the Court.
offence is treated as “aggravated” when committed by a person in a position of
trust or authority of child such as a member of security forces, police
officer, public servant, etc.
Punishments for Offences covered
in the Act are:
Penetrative Sexual Assault (Section 3) –
Not less than seven years which may extend to imprisonment for life, and
fine (Section 4)
Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault (Section
5) – Not
less than ten years which may extend to imprisonment for life, and fine (Section 6)
Sexual Assault (Section 7) – Not less than three years which may extend
to five years, and fine (Section 8)
Aggravated Sexual Assault (Section 9) – Not less than five years
which may extend to seven years, and fine (Section 10)
Sexual Harassment of the Child (Section 11) – Three years and fine (Section
· Use of Child for
Pornographic Purposes (Section 13) – Five years and fine and in the event of
subsequent conviction, seven years and fine (Section 14 (1))
The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for trial of offences
under the Act, keeping the best interest of the child as of paramount
importance at every stage of the judicial process. The Act incorporates child friendly procedures for
reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and trial of offences. These
Recording the statement of the child at the residence of the child or at
the place of his choice, preferably by a woman police officer not below the
rank of sub-inspector
No child to be detained in the police station in the night for any
Police officer to not be in uniform while recording the statement of the
The statement of the child to be recorded as spoken by the child
Assistance of an interpreter or translator or an expert as per the need
of the child
Assistance of special educator or any person familiar with the manner of
communication of the child in case child is disabled
Medical examination of the child to be conducted in the presence of the
parent of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or
In case the victim is a girl child, the medical examination shall be
conducted by a woman doctor.
Frequent breaks for the child during trial
Child not to be called repeatedly to testify
No aggressive questioning or character assassination of the child
In-camera trial of cases
Act recognizes that the intent to commit an offence, even when unsuccessful for
whatever reason, needs to be penalized. The attempt to commit an offence under the Act has been made liable for
punishment for upto half the punishment prescribed for the commission of the
Act also provides for punishment for abetment
of the offence, which is the same as for the commission of the offence.
This would cover trafficking of children for sexual purposes.
the more heinous offences of Penetrative Sexual Assault, Aggravated Penetrative
Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault, the burden of proof is shifted on the
accused. This provision has been made keeping in view the greater vulnerability
and innocence of children. At the same time, to prevent misuse of the law,
punishment has been provided for making false complaint or proving false
information with malicious intent. Such punishment has been kept relatively
light (six months) to encourage reporting. If false complaint is made against a
child, punishment is higher (one year).
media has been barred from disclosing the identity of the child without the
permission of the Special Court. The punishment for breaching this provision by
media may be from six months to one year.
speedy trial, the Act provides for the evidence of the child to be recorded
within a period of 30 days. Also, the Special Court is to complete the trial
within a period of one year, as far as possible.
provide for relief and rehabilitation of
the child, as soon as the complaint is made to the Special Juvenile Police
Unit (SJPU) or local police, these will make immediate arrangements to give the
child, care and protection such as admitting the child into shelter home or to
the nearest hospital within twenty-four hours of the report. The SJPU or the
local police are also required to report the matter to the Child Welfare Committee
within 24 hours of recording the complaint, for long term rehabilitation of the
Act casts a duty on the Central and State Governments to spread awareness
through media including the television, radio and the print media at regular
intervals to make the general public, children as well as their parents and
guardians aware of the provisions of this Act.
National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commissions
for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) have been made the designated
authority to monitor the implementation of the Act.