After the promulgation of Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance 2018 less than a week ago, the ministry of WCD (Union Women and Child development) will seek approval for the same punishment to those who will assault young boys (under 12) sexually.
Under the IPC (Indian Penal Code), ordinance amendment section 376 passed on 22nd April deals with rape. It has been modified as the section 42 of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offence) Act enacted in the year 2012, a law to address sexual crimes committed on any gender below 18 years old, was changed to new IPC section which will apply to children less than 12 years old.
Since, POCSO supports gender-neutrality, the word ‘woman’ mentioned in the amended section 376 will mean that the death penalty law is applicable for raping girls only, not boys.
One official has cited the statement and said that it’ll result in anomaly since crimes against a boy and a girl are being treated in different ways so far. Hence, the ordinance that has been brought in to address crimes on sexual assault on girls below 12 years, contradicts with the motto of POCSO, which is to provide gender-neutral justice.
In order to make the corrections, the ministry of WCD has decided to amend POCSO Act sections 4, 5 and 6, and modify it as it will enable the guilty who’ll commit rape crimes against any children below 12 years age, to receive death penalty punishment.
Another official member stated that the promulgated ordinance declared on 22nd April needs Parliament’s approval within next 6 weeks, and if it fails then the law will cease to function properly.
He also added that they will first try to get approval for POCSO amendments by the cabinet in order to make it as an essential part of common law. Later on, the parliament can reconvene it and approve the ordinance for including into the country’s law.
Anil Malhotra, an officer at special investigation team created by Punjab -Haryana High Court during 2012, inquired alleged cases on sexual abuse of children at children’s home ‘Apna Ghar’ in Rohtak, Haryana.
Malhotra has said that the team has found that both boys and girls were equally traumatized by these sexual assaults. Hence, the punishment level for crimes against both the genders is legally untenable.