POSCO: An overview- An analysis of Bombay High Court Judgment


Introduction-


Out of the total population of India, the share of children is that of 37%, and from the World's population, the share of children is 20%.

Sexual exploitation of children is a community concern, on which many legislative and commercial initiatives have focused.

In comparison to Adults, it is more difficult for children to disclose the difficulties or exploitation that they have faced.

What is POSCO Act?

POSCO is a landmark law that protects children from sexual offenses.

POSCO Act 2012 came into force to keep an eye on the security of children and to keep attention on cases of sexual crime, sexual harassment, and child pornography.

This act defines a child as a person whose age is less than 18 years. It also encourages the child's physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development. There is no gender discrimination in the act.

Section 4, Section 5, Section 6, Section 9, Section 14, Section 15 and Section 42 of the POSCO Act deals with sexual crimes against children.

Child Sexual Offenses Protection Rules, 2020

Awareness generation and capacity building:

• The Central and State Governments have been asked to prepare age-appropriate educational materials and curriculum for children so that they can be made aware of various aspects of

personal safety.

• Under this amendment, the prevention and protection of sexual offenses with children through educational material and to make complaints about such cases, through the child

Helpline number 1098 is also to be conveyed.

• Personal safety includes physical safety of children as well as safety measures related to their identity on online forums, emotional and mental health.

Reporting of pornographic material:

• The amendment also tightened the provisions related to child pornography.

• According to the new rules, if any person receives a file related to child pornography or knows of any other person who has such a file or sending it to others, then it must be reported to the Special Juvenile Police Unit or Cybercrime Unit (cybercrime.gov.in)


• According to the rule, in such cases, detailed information of the device (mobile, computer, etc.) in which the pornographic file is kept, the device from which it was obtained, and the online platform on which it is displayed.

Child Protection Policy:

• Under the new rules, state governments have been directed to formulate a 'Child Protection Policy' based on the principle of "zero tolerance" against child abuse.

• All such institutions, organizations, or any other agency in the state that works with children, will follow these policies of the government.


The judgment of Bombay High Court

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court i.e. Bombay High Court is once again in the discussion.

The court has given another judgment, in which the court said that holding the hand of the minor girl and opening the zip of the pants does not come under the purview of sexual harassment under the POSCO Act. The court said in its judgment that this case of sexual

harassment would come under Section 354A of the IPC. The Nagpur bench had earlier ruled not to consider sexual harassment for non-skin-to-skin touch, which was stayed by the Supreme Court.

According to the information, the court heard in the case of molesting a 12-year-old girl. In this case, the girl's mother said that she had seen the 50-year-old accused. The accused's pant's zip was open and he held the five-year-old daughter's hand. According to the woman, her daughter had reported that the accused had taken out her private part and asked her to lie in bed.

The case was first heard in Nagpur Sessions Court. The session court convicted the accused. Also, it was considered punishable sexual harassment under Section 10 of the POSCO Act. At the same time, the convict was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of five years with simple imprisonment of six months. Apart from this, a fine of Rs 25,000 was also imposed. The guilty party challenged the verdict in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

Bombay High Court gave this decision

According to the Live Law report, Judge Pushpa Ganeediwala of Nagpur bench of The Bombay High Court heard the case. She ruled that holding the hand of a minor girl and opening the zip of the pants would not come under the definition of sexual abuse under the POSCO Act 2012 i.e. protecting children from sexual offenses. The court said that doing so under Section 354-A (1) (i) of the IPC comes under the purview of 'sexual harassment'. The single-judge bench did not consider Sections 8, 10, and 12 of the POSCO Act to be appropriate in this case and convicted the accused under Section 354A (1) (i), which carries a maximum sentence of three years of imprisonment. The court also said that the accused has spent five months in jail, which is sufficient for this crime.


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