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Union Cabinet okays amendments to POCSO Act 


NEW DELHI:  The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual  Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, to incorporate the provision of the death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children. The amendments also provide fines and a jail term to curb child pornography.

A statement by the Union Women and Child Development Ministry said the amendment is expected to discourage child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions in the Act. It, however, did not specify for which crimes the death penalty has been introduced in the Act. Last year, the Act was amended to include the provision of the death penalty for raping less than 12-year-old children.

Amendments in Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Act were made to provide for stringent punishment including the death penalty for sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault against children. The amendments were also approved in Section 9 to protect kids from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and other similar situations and in cases where children are administered any hormone or any other substance to attain early maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.

Also, the Cabinet green-signalled changes in Sections 14 and 15 of the Act to levy fine for not destroying or deleting or reporting the pornographic material involving a child.