GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

Ministry of: Women and Child Development

RAJYA SABHA
STARRED QUESTION NO 109
TO BE ANSWERED ON 30.07.2015

Review of POCSO Act

109. SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR

Will the Minister of WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT be pleased to state:-

(a) whether the Ministry has taken cognizance of reports that majority of prosecutions under Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012 (POCSO) are for adolescent relationships;
(b) the percentage of prosecutions under the POCSO Act, where both the victim and alleged perpetrator were argued to have been in adolescent relationship; and
(c) if so, whether the Ministry shall consider amending the POSCO Act to fix this and other flaws?

ANSWER
MINISTER OF WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
(SHRIMATI MANEKA SANJAY GANDHI)

(a) to (c): A statement is laid on the table of the House.

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STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN REPLY TO PART (a) TO (c) OF RAJYA SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO.109 FOR 30.07.2015 REGARDING REVIEW OF POCSO ACT BY SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR.

(a) & (b): The Ministry does not have any such reports or data which suggest that majority of prosecutions under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act, 2012 are for adolescent relationship.

(c): The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 protects children below the age of 18 years from adult abusers. If an offence under the Act is committed by a child then according to section 34 of the Act, such child shall be dealt with under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as amended in 2006 and not under the provisions of POCSO Act, 2012.

During the formulation of the POCSO Act, the Ministry had suggested a proviso of consent in case of Sexual assault. According to the suggested provision, consent of the child below the age of sixteen years was immaterial. The case of a child above sixteen years of age was required to ascertain whether consent for the sexual act was obtained and if so, such consent was not obtained against the will by use of fraud, deceit, violence, force, threat to use force, intoxicants, drugs, impersonation, coercion, undue influence or threats etc.

When the Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development for review, the Committee suggested to drop the proviso of consent. The Committee was of the view that once the age of child has been specified as 18 years, the element of consent should be treated as irrelevant upto this age. By having the element of consent, the focus would be on the victim which would invariably lead to re-victimization of the victim in the hands of the justice delivery process and would be especially problematic when dealing with children. Therefore, in view of the recommendations of the Committee, the proviso on consent was dropped from the Bill.