The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which provides the death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, was passed in Lok Sabha. It was passed by Rajya Sabha on July 29. Fast-track courts would be set up in the next two years under the Bill. Eighteen states have already come forward to join hands with the Centre to set up these courts. Each court will be given Rs 75 lakh as administrative expenses. The Bill aims at making offences against children gender-neutral. The Bill defines child pornography so that sexual predators indulging in such heinous crimes could be punished.
 
 
Penetrative sexual assault
  1. Under the Act, a person commits “penetrative sexual assault” if he: (i) penetrates his penis into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a child, or (ii) makes a child do the same, or (iii) inserts any other object into the child’s body, or (iv) applies his mouth to a child’s body parts.  
  2. The punishment for such offence is imprisonment between seven years to life, and a fine.  
  3. The Bill increases the minimum punishment from seven years to ten years.  It further adds that if a person commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below the age of 16 years, he will be punishable with imprisonment between 20 years to life, with a fine.
Aggravated penetrative sexual assault
  1. The Act defines certain actions as “aggravated penetrative sexual assault”. These include cases when a police officer, a member of the armed forces, or a public servant commits penetrative sexual assault on a child.  
  2. It also covers cases where the offender is a relative of the child, or if the assault injures the sexual organs of the child or the child becomes pregnant, among others.  
  3. The Bill adds two more grounds to the definition of aggravated penetrative sexual assault.  These include: (i) assault resulting in death of child, and (ii) assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar situations of violence.  
  4. Currently, the punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault is imprisonment between 10 years to life, and a fine.  
  5. The Bill increases the minimum punishment from ten years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment to death penalty.
Aggravated sexual assault
  1. Under the Act, “sexual assault” includes actions where a person touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of a child with sexual intent without penetration.  
  2. Aggravated sexual assault includes cases where the offender is a relative of the child, or if the assault injures the sexual organs of the child, among others.  
  3. The Bill adds two more offences to the definition of aggravated sexual assault.  These include: (i) assault committed during a natural calamity, and (ii) administrating or help in administering any hormone or any chemical substance, to a child for the purpose of attaining early sexual maturity.
Pornographic purposes
  1. Under the Act, a person is guilty of using a child for pornographic purposes if he uses a child in any form of media for the purpose of sexual gratification. 
  2. The Act also penalises persons who use children for pornographic purposes resulting in sexual assault.  
  3. The Bill defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including photograph, video, digital or computer generated image indistinguishable from an actual child. 

 

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