Child abuse is prevalent all over the world mostly in the developing and underdeveloped countries , abuse can be of many forms Maltreatment (including violent punishment), Bullying (including cyber-bullying), Youth violence , Intimate partner violence (or domestic violence), Sexual violence , Emotional or psychological violence.
Restricting to child sexual abuses here we will first see who is a child the sad part is there is ambiguity, as Every law is formed with different objectives and therefore, in order to solve the purpose of their establishment, ‘child’ has been defined differently. Such as the primary concern related to a child in India is related to the definition of child itself.
Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (HMGA) 1956; Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 and so on define ‘child’ as a person who is under 18 years of age.
While the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1986 defines a ‘child’ as someone who is under the age of 16 years and a minor who is between age group of 16-18 years. In the Constitution of India and Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, a ‘child’ is defined as a person below 14 years of age. The recently amended Juvenile Justice Act 2015 states that children (16-18 years) may be treated as adults if they commit heinous crimes such as rape, acid attack, murder, etc.
Two of the latest judgements which shook the judiciary came from the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High court first is the Libnus v State of Maharashtra where the judge rather than charging the appellant with Section 10 and Section 12 of POCSO charged the Appellant with Sec 354 A of IPC which meant which carries a maximum prison term of three with no statutory minimum sentence stipulated thereof. “Holding of hands of minor girl and opening pant zip not a sexual assault” However the then Chief Justice stayed the order.
Second case is Satish V state of Maharashtra where the same judge acquitted a 32-years old man of the charges under Sections 7/8 of the POCSO reasoning that as there was no “skin-to-skin”contact, therefore, the offence of sexual assault is not made out. And charged under Section 354 of the India Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).
I am of the view of that Looking at Section 7 of POCSO and Section 354 of IPC together, it is not possible to arrive at a logical conclusion that what is an offence under the latter is not covered under the former. Sexual overtures may be both verbal and non-verbal. Therefore, what is an offence under Section 354A (1) (i) is necessarily an offence as defined in Section 7 of POCSO.
India is at a peak in the case of sexual offenses against the children which is a home of 430 million children. Many regulations and acts were enacted for control over child rape and sexual abuse but yet unable to control the increasing rate of sexual abuse with children.