Union Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, that aims to make punishments more stringent and even include death penalty for offenders involved in sexual crimes against minors.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for stringent punishment, including life imprisonment, for using children for pornographic purposes.
The new law is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to the strong penal provisions in the Act. It intends to protect the interests of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity.
There has been a rise in crime against children in the country in the recent years. It is estimated that 1.6 lakh cases of child abuse are pending in 31 states and Union Territories (UTs).
As per official data, about 12,609 rape cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act this year.