CSA In The News – April 26
1] Bill proposes life term for sexual offences against kids
New Delhi: On Thursday, the Union Cabinet is likely to discuss a bill
that will make sexual intercourse or ‘contact with sexual intent’ with
a child – which is any one below 18 years – illegal. The ‘sexual
offences against children bill’ proposes tough penal provisions
ranging from three years’ imprisonment to life term for a person who
commits sexual harassment, sexual assault, penetrative sexual assault
or aggravated penetrative sexual assault.
This is the first time that a legislation will be brought to tackle
offences specifically against children that are not dealt with under
existing laws. It also seeks to include abuse of boys while bringing
trafficking and child pornography under the ambit of the law. The bill
has dropped the ‘age of consent’ (16-18 years) clause after a
controversial recommendation by a parliamentary panel that under the
IPC and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, a person below 18 is
considered a minor, and there should be uniformity in laws.
No age of consent for sex below 18 years
The removal of “age of consent” clause from the ‘sexual offences
against children bill’ effectively means any sexual interaction with
any person below the age of 18 is an offence if either party files a
complaint or if it is discovered. The earlier suggestion that 16 be
considered the age of consent and 18 the age for marriage has been
done away with.
The bill recommends 10 years of imprisonment extendable to life
imprisonment and fine for aggravated sexual assault. The bill says if
a person commits sexual harassment if he uses words or shows body
parts to a child with sexual intent, shows pornography to a child or
threatens to depict a child involved in sexual act through the media.
The penalty is imprisonment for up to three years and a fine.
The bill mooted by the ministry of women and child development (WCD)
is in response to the increasing incidents of sexual offences against
children. However, these are dogged by a low conviction rate.