SC to study if POCSO Act can be used against minors
Context: The Supreme Court has decided to examine whether the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act can be employed to punish teenagers for “consensual” physical relationships which later turn “sour.”
About POCSO Act:
- The POCSO Act was enacted in 2012 and is gender neutral — it recognises that boys can be victims of sexual violence as well. It defines a child as someone under the age of 18.
- The Indian Penal Code does not recognise that sexual assault can be committed on boys.
- The Act also increased the scope of reporting sexual crimes against children. It expanded the definition of sexual assault to include non-penetrative sexual assault as well as aggravated penetrative sexual assault.
- This law recognises sexual harassment of a child which involves touch, and also that which doesn’t (sections 11 and 12), such as stalking, making a child expose themselves or exposing themselves to a child, and so on.
- The POCSO Act also specifically lays down stringent punishment for exposing children to, or using them to create child sexual abuse material (CSAM, also referred to as child pornography) under sections 13, 14, and 15.