About The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO)
POCSO is a key legislation governing sexual harassment of children and their protection thereof. Under the provisions of the Act, sexual assault, harassment and pornography - where the victim of the same are children, are made punishable offences as is the abetment of any of the offences mentioned under the Act.
- Under Section 11 of the POCSO Act, a person is said to commit sexual harassment upon a child when such person:
utters any word or makes any sound, or makes any gesture or exhibits any object or part of body with the intention, that such word or sound shall be heard, or such gesture or object or part of body shall be seen by the child and does so with sexual intent or
- makes a child exhibit his body or any part of his body so as it is seen by such person or any other person; or
- shows any object to a child in any form or media for pornographic purposes; or
- repeatedly or constantly follows or watches or contacts a child either directly or through electronic, digital or any other means; or
- threatens to use, in any form of media, a real or fabricated depiction through electronic, film or digital or any other mode, of any part of the body of the child or the involvement of the child in a sexual act; or
- entices a child for pornographic purposes or gives gratification. ‘Sexual intent’ in such circumstances, is to be determined on the facts of the case
- Section 12 further provides for punishment for the said offences and the acts are punishable for imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years with a fine.
- Section 13: The use of a child or the involvement of a child through any medium like print, electronic, computer or any other technology for preparation, production, offering, transmitting, publishing, facilitation and distribution of the pornographic material, irrespective of it being for personal use or distribution, when done with the purpose of sexual gratification amounts to use of the Child for pornographic purposes under Section 13 of the Act. Sexual gratification under this provision includes:
- representation of the sexual organs of a child;
- usage of a child engaged in real or simulated sexual acts (with or without penetration);
- the indecent or obscene representation of a child, shall be guilty of the offence of using a child for pornographic purposes.
- Under Section 15, the storage of pornographic material involving child for commercial purposes in any form is also punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.
- Under Section 20, The POCSO Act further imposes an obligation on personnel of the media or hotel or lodge or hospital or club or studio or photographic facilities, irrespective of the number of persons employed to provide to the Special Juvenile Police Unit, or to the local police on coming across any material or object which is sexually exploitative of the child including pornographic, sexually-related or making obscene representation of a child or children) through the use of any medium.
- Under Section 19, the Act also enumerates the procedure for reporting cases of child sexual harassment to the Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police and states that the complaint is to be recorded in simple language so as to enable the child to understand the contents of the complain.