The POSCO Act has been successfully amended in the Raj Sabha as members from across party lines came ahead in support of the suggested amendments. The amendments that have been approved by the members of the Rajya Sabha include provisions such as-
- Seeking the punishment of death penalty for those who have engaged in aggravated sexual assault on children
- Providing stringent punishments for those who have perpetrated crimes against minors.
- Legal measures and punishment against perpetrators of child pornography.
The POSCO(Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill, 2019 had been introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani. The Opposition supported the amendments and said that while the amendment bill would be seen as a welcome stay what also couldn’t be denied was the fact that despite the stringent punishments that the bill had promised, we continue seeing these cries unfolding from time to time.
He also said that there was a poor conviction rate by the law and said that out of more than 1 lakh reported offences, trial has been completed in only around 10,000 cases and only 30% of those convicted have received a punishment.
The Opposition also made it clear that apart from seeing to it that the POSCO Act was implemented, what also needed to be ensured was the fact that funds of the child and women development ministry are also utilised in a manner that they can bring benefits to women and children and empower them. Demands were made that the state should pay up for the treatment of all such children who are sexually exploited despite the existence of the POSCO Act and that the examination of female victims should only be taken up by female doctors ensuring their privacy.
Member of Rajya Sabha Jaya Bachchan(SP)said that merely bringing out new legislations would not help us solve the issue and what we need is commitment to a time bound way of dealing with prosecution and compensation to the victim. She said that the NCPCR was a toothless body and that the government should provide an independent child tribunal.
While the POSCO Act was amended to deal with the growth in cases of offences against children in the nation, it will have to be accompanied by stringent implementation of law along with awareness campaigns.