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State Commission For Protection Of Child Right
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By MM / +TPG!
POCSO FAQ
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Children, being the most vulnerable section of the society, are more susceptible to physical, sexual and psychological abuse. The Government of India has taken a significant initiative to address the issue of sexual offences against children by enacting a special law “The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act, 2012)” which provides for stringent punishment to perpetrators.

Q.1 What are the objectives of enacting Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012?
The objectives of enacting the POCSO Act, 2012 are to protect the children from various types of sexual offences and to establish Special Court for providing speedy disposal of cases.

Q. 2 Who is defined as a child under POCSO Act, 2012?
POCSO Act defines child as any person below 18 years of age. (Section 2)

Q.3 What are the various types of sexual offences under POCSO Act, 2012?
There are five types of sexual offences against children under POCSO Act. These are: penetrative sexual assault; aggravated penetrative sexual assault; sexual assault; aggravated sexual assault; and sexual harassment; (Sections 3, 5, 7, 9 & 11)

Q.4 Whether abetment of an offence or an attempt to commit an offence is punishable?
Yes. Abetment of an offence or an attempt to commit an offence is also punishable under the Act. (Section 16)

Q.5 Whether a person repeatedly or constantly follows or watches or contacts a child either directly or through electronic, digital or any other means is sexual harassment?
Yes. Repeated or constantly follows or watches or contacts a child either directly or through electronic, digital or any other means is sexual harassment and is punishable under POCSO Act (Section 11).

Q.6 Whether using a child for pornographic purposes is punishable?
Yes. Using a child for pornographic purposes such as representation of the sexual organ of a child, usage of a child engaged in real or stimulated sexual acts, the indecent or obscene representation of a child is an offence under POCSO Act and is punishable (Section 13).

Q.7 What punishments can be inflicted for the commission or abetment of commission of sexual offences?
i. Penetrative Sexual Assault: Imprisonment of seven years extendable to life imprisonment and fine (Section 4).
ii. Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault: Rigorous imprisonment of ten years extendable to life imprisonment and fine (Section 6).
iii. Sexual Assault: Imprisonment of three years extendable to five years and fine (Section 8).
iv. Aggravated Sexual Assault: Imprisonment of five years extendable to seven years and fine (Section 10).
v. Sexual Harassment: Imprisonment up to three years and fine (Section 12).

Q.8 Is sexual offence against a boy covered under the POCSO Act?
Yes, sexual offence against a boy also covered under POCSO Act. The Act does not distinguish between boy and girl.

Q.9 What is CWC?
Child Welfare Committee (CWC), a statutory body under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, is a competent authority to deal with children in need of care and protection (CNCP) and provide for their proper care, treatment, protection, development and rehabilitation.

Q.10 What is a SJPU?
Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) is a statutory body under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as amended in 2006 consisting of a Juvenile or Child Welfare Officer not below the rank of a Police Inspector and two Social Workers one of whom shall be a woman, who has experience in working with children.

Q.11 What is the role of CWC under POCSO Rule?
The CWC upon receipt of a report from the SJPU or the Local Police regarding sexual offence against a child shall act in accordance with the powers given under the JJ Act, 2000 as amended in 2006.
i. To determine within three days as to whether a child should be taken out of the custody of his family or shared household and placed in a children's home or shelter home.
ii. Take into account the opinion or preference of the child along with the best interests of the child while making this determination.
iii. Provide a support person to assist the child during the investigation and trial of the case with the consent of the child or the child's parent/guardian/other person in whom the child has trust or confidence.

Q.12 Who has been assigned the responsibility of the monitoring of implementation of the POCSO Act?
The responsibility of monitoring the implementation of the POCSO Act has been assigned to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) at the national level and the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) at the State Levels, constituted respectively under section 3 and section 17 of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (Section 44 ).

Q.13 What is Special Court?
A Special Court is a court to be set up under section 28 of the POCSO Act for providing speedy trial and to try the case in a child friendly atmosphere. To try the offences under POCSO Act, the State Government shall in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court designate for each district a Court of Session to be a Special Court (Section 28).

Q.14 What are the roles of Special Court under POCSO Act during the trial?
During the trial the Special Court must take the following measures:
i. Create a child friendly atmosphere by allowing a family member, a guardian, a friend or a relative in whom the child has trust and confidence, to be present.
ii. Permits frequent breaks for the child.
iii. The child is not called repeatedly in the court to testify.
iv. Aggressive questioning and character assassination of the child are not permitted.
v. The dignity of the child is maintained.
vi. The identity of the child is not disclosed (Section 33).

Q.15 What procedure the Special Court will follow during trials of cases?
The Special Court shall try cases in camera in the presence of parents of the child or any other person in who the child has trust or confidence (Section 37).

Q.16 Whether the Special Court can award compensation to the victims?
Yes, the Special Court may award compensation to the victim on its own motion or on an application filed by or on behalf of the victim. The Special Court may also pass an order for interim compensation to meet the immediate needs of the child for relief or rehabilitation (Rule 7).

Q.17 Who shall pay the compensation and within what times the compensation to be paid?
The State Government shall pay the compensation to the victim, within 30 days from the receipt of such order, from the Victims Compensation Fund or any other scheme or fund established by the State Government (Rule 7).

Q.18 If there is an apprehension of commission of an offence under POCSO Act, to whom the matter is to be informed?
If there is any apprehension of the commission of an offence under the POCSO Act, the same may be informed either to the SJPU or Local Police (Section 19).

Q.19 Who can provide information or make complaint?
Any person including the child can inform or make a complaint if there is an apprehension of commission of offence under POCSO Act.

Q.20 What are the responsibilities of SJPU/Local police if the commission or the apprehension of the commission of an offence is informed?
In such case the SJPU or Local Police shall record such information in writing and shall make an entry in the book to be kept by the police. Such information shall also be read over to the informant.
If a child gives such information the same shall be recorded in a simple language understandable to the child (Section 19).

Q.21 What will the SJPU/Local Police do if it is satisfied that the child against whom the offence has been committed is in need of care and protection?
In such case SJPU or the Local Police, shall produce the child before the concerned Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours of receipt of report (Rule 4).

Q.22 Whether there is an obligation on the part of the media, hotel, lodge, hospital and club personnel to report to SJPU or Local Police?
Yes, the media/hotel/lodge/hospital/club personnel have an obligation to report to the SJPU or Local Police if she/he/they come across any material or object which is sexually exploitative of the child (Section 20).

Q.23 Whether a person shall be punished if she/he fails to report the matter to the SJPU or Local Police?
Yes, the POCSO Act, 2012 provides for a punishment for failure to inform the SJPU or Local Police or record a case if she/he/they come across any material or object which is sexually exploitative of the child. Punishment for such failure is either imprisonment up to six months or with fine or both (Section.21).

Q.24 Is there any punishment for making false complaint or providing false information against any person?
Yes. If a person makes a false complaint or provides false information against any other person, she/he shall be punished with imprisonment up to six months or with fine or with both (Section 22).

Q.25 Whether the statement of the child can be recorded in the police station?
No. Under no circumstances the statement of a child can be recorded in the police station.

Q.26 Where shall the statement of the child be recorded?
The statement of the child shall be recorded at his residence or at a place of his choice or at such other place where he ordinarily resides, as far as possible, by a woman' officer not below the rank of a sub inspector. While recording the statement of the child, the police officer shall not be in uniform (Section 24).

Q.27 Can the Magistrate record the statement of the child in the absence of any other person?
No, the Magistrate shall not record the statement of the child in the absence of any other person.

Q.28 How can the statement of the child be recorded by the Magistrate?
The Magistrate shall record the statement of the child in the presence of his/her parents or any other person in whom the child has a trust or confidence. The Magistrate may take the assistance of a qualified and experienced interpreter or translator (Section 25).

Q.29 If the victim is a girl child, whether a male doctor can conduct medical examination of the victim?
No. If the victim is a girl child, a male doctor shall not conduct medical examination of the victim. Such medical examination shall be conducted by a lady doctor in the presence of her parents or any person in whom the child has trust or confidence (Section 27).

Q.30 Is there any time limit for completion of trial in the Special Court?
Yes. The Special Court shall complete the trial within a period of one year from the date of taking cognizance of the offence (Section 35).

Q.31 Is there any special provision for recording of statement of a child who has mental or physical disability?
Yes. The POCSO Act provides for the special provision for recording of evidence of a child who has mental or physical disability. The Magistrate may take the assistance of a special educator or a person familiar with the manner of communication of the child (Section 26).

Q.32 Whether the child has the right to take the assistance of a legal practitioner?
Yes, the child has a right to take the assistance of a legal practitioner. If the parents or guardian of the child is unable to afford a legal counsel, the Legal Services Authority shall provide a lawyer (Section 40).

Q.33 Who has been given the responsibility of making public awareness regarding the provisions of the Act?
The Central and State Governments have been given the responsibility of making public awareness regarding the provisions of the Act through television, radio, print media etc (Section 43).

Q.34 Whether the media has been barred from disclosing the identity of the victim?
Yes. The POCSO Act has barred the media from disclosing the identity of the victim including his/her name, address, family details, photograph, school, neighborhood etc (Section 23).

Q.35 Is there any punishment for disclosing the identity of a victim without the permission of the Special Court?
Yes. If a person discloses the identity of a child, she/he shall be punished with imprisonment up to six months extendable to one year or with fine or with both (Section 23).

Q.36 Whether medical examination of a victim can be conducted without registering the complaint/FIR?
Yes. The medical examination of a victim can be conducted even if the complaint or FIR has not been registered. The medical examination shall be conducted as per section 164A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Section 27).

Q.37 Whether same procedure will be followed if a child commits any offence under this Act?
No. If a child commits an offence under the POCSO Act she/he shall be punished under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 as Amended in 2006.

Q.38 Is there any time period for recording the evidence of a child in the Special Court?
Yes. The Special Court shall record the evidence of a child within a period of thirty days from the date of taking cognizance of such offence. If a delay is made in recording evidence, such delay shall be recorded in writing (Section 35).

Q.39 On whom the burden of proof lies in the Special Court?
The burden of proof lies with the person against whom a complaint regarding sexual offence is made (Section 29).

Q.40 Against whom a complaint can be made under POCSO Act?
A complaint can be made against a person who commits or like to commit offences under POCSO Act.