PCSOB 2011/12: New Act – good intentions, loopholes aplenty... Passed Finally!
Last updated on June 02, 1900 hrs.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill cleared by the Cabinet on March 03, 2011 has finally been passed by Parliament. Amir Khan's take on the issue, has also added to the fast-processing. It is a well-meaning, welcome legislation with lacunae. Something better than nothing... to allow little buds blossom fully.
Mumbai: One of India’s main societal concerns has been the care of children. Apart from other important provisions made for children in India, the prevention and protection of children from sexual offences has been on the priority list for long. The PCSOB 2011 (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill) approved by the Parliament and cleared by the Cabinet on March 3, 2011 is thus a pathbreaking legislation. Intended primarily as a deterrent against the sexual exploitation of children, the bill provides for protection of children from sexual abuse and proposes stringent punishment.
The bill aims to prevent and protect children from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. While there is general appreciation for the new bill, there is also an equal apprehension about its enforceability among members of society. The bill has invited applause and criticism from various sections. Academia and activists, psychiatrists, doctors and parents have generally welcomed the new legislation, though some have voiced various concerns and questions.
Upside: Experts believe that the PCSOB 2011 has many positives (listed below) to protect children against sexual abuse:
While there is uproar and a feeling that there are many questions yet to be answered, the PCSOB 2011 atleast provides much-needed solace to victims and their families. HAQ -Centre for Child Rights and other independent analysers have commented exclusively on the PCSOB2011.
NCPCR – The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Shantha Sinha and Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath have welcomed the bill while taking up issues of concern with the Home Ministry. Meanwhile, Dr. Krishna Pal Malik Asst. Professor of Law at the Nirma University of Law, Ahmedabad has provided pertinent insights and remarks on the PCSOB 2011.
The PCSOB 2011 is a good intentioned
legislation intending to uphold the dignity while preventing and
protecting children from sexual offences. However it does have a few
lacunae that need to be plugged. The provisions in the bill need to be
enforced and till that happens it will just be another paper
legislation adding to the plethora of acts, while the woes of millions
of child-victims continue.
Sounds of Silence: Child Sexual Abuse in India