The Indian government has proposed an amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012 to make the punishment for sexual crime against children more stringent.
The proposed amendment, approved by the Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, provides for severe punishment, including the death penalty for people committing aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a child under 18 years of age.
"Major changes are being made to POCSO Act. Punishment has been enhanced for sexual assault of children. The changes are being introduced to prevent children from becoming victims of sexual assault", Ravishankar Prasad, India's Law Minister said during a press briefing in New Delhi.
Children should be protected from sexual offences; Cabinet acts to make— Sitanshu Kar (@DG_PIB) December 28, 2018
punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children; approves amendments to POCSO Act 2012 pic.twitter.com/JHPwkFKVav
The law has also been amended to include provisions of punishment in cases where children are administered, in any way, any hormone or any chemical substance, to attain early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.
As per the National Crime Records Bureau, a total number of 34,449, 34,505 and 36,022 cases were registered under the Sexual Abuse/POSCO Act in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively with crimes against children accounting for an 0.2% increase in 2015 over 2014 and a 4.4% increase in 2016 over 2015.