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Lok Sabha passes bill seeking death for rape of minors

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The Lok Sabha on Thursday unanimously passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children.

Responding to the debate on the Bill, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said that the bill aimed to make offences against children gender-neutral.

“This Bill is not related with vote-bank politics but to save the future of India. The government’s priority is to ensure that justice is delivered to every child in the country,” said the minister.

The Bill, which has already been approved in the Rajya Sabha, also defines child pornography and makes it punishable.

Ms. Irani added that over 1,000 fast track courts will work for the speedy disposal of pending cases under POCSO and that 18 States have consented to set up fast track courts.

To curb child pornography, the Bill provides that those who use a child for pornographic purposes should be punished with imprisonment up to five years and a fine, and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction, the punishment would be up to seven years and a fine.

According to the amendment bill, those committing penetrative sexual assaults on a child below 16 years of age would be punished with imprisonment up to 20 years, which might extend to life imprisonment as well as a fine.

In case of aggravated penetrative sexual assault, the bill increases the minimum punishment from 10 years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment to death penalty.

Six lakh sexual offenders have been registered under the National Database on Sexual Offenders, the minister informed the House.

Cutting across party lines, members supported amendments to the POCSO Act though some demanded that the Bill be referred to a standing committee or select committee as it makes certain offences punishable with death.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 9:08:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lok-sabha-passes-bill-seeking-death-for-rape-of-minors/article28787647.ece

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