After facing criticism over a circular which mandated that no FIR for molestation or offences under the POCSO Act should be registered without the zonal DCP’s permission, Mumbai police commissioner said the directive can be reconsidered.
What is the issue?
- Mumbai city police commissioner has instructed that cases of molestation or sexual crimes involving minors should be registered under the POCSO Act only after recommendation from an officer of the rank of assistant commissioner of police (ACP) and permission from a deputy commissioner of police (DCP). Until now, a police station would immediately register an FIR if any complaint was received.
- Henceforth, the ACP will have to verify a complaint and then recommend registering an FIR.
- For this, the ACP will also have to send a recommendation to the DCP for approval before registering the FIR.
- Police commissioner said that it has been pointed out that in some cases, due to quarrels, personal rivalry or monetary disputes motivated complaints are lodged under POCSO or IPC for sexual molestation.
About the POCSO Act –
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act is a comprehensive act that came into force in November 2012.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development introduced the act.
- Commonly known as POCSO Act, it deals with offences related to children.
- This act addresses heinous crimes and protects a child from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography.
- The POCSO Act, 2012 lays down the punishment for exposing children to any kind of sexual offence.
- The enactment of this act increased the scope of reporting sexual crimes against children.
- What was the need of this act?
- The act was required as the Indian Penal Code was inadequate to address Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Pornography and Sexual Violence against boys and a child.
- The act is gender-neutral and recognises both girls and a boy as a victim of sexual violence.
- The POCSO was also required as the procedure for the crime reported under IPC is more rigid and also not child friendly.
- Also, India is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Children (UNCRC).
- The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to ensure child-friendly procedure for the filing of the report and fulfils the requirement of Article 15(3) of the Constitution of India. Clause 3 of Article 15 of the Constitution gives powers to the legislature to create special provisions for women and children.
- Features of POCSO Act –
- The Act defines the various types of offences, touch-based, non-touch, penetrative, pornographic crimes etc., in detail and doesn’t leave any kind of offence.
- The act also defines the person under the age of 18 as a child.
- The act also has a feature to give compensation to the victim.
- Only the POCSO Court has the jurisdiction to deal with the matter related to the act.
- The INNOCENT TILL PROVEN GUILTY principle does not apply in the matter related to the POCSO Act, 2012. Once a complaint gets filed in this case, it gets presumed that the intention was to commit a sexual act.
- If a child goes through abuse at home, he will get relocated by the Child Welfare Commission for care and protection.