NEW DELHI, 16 Mar: A parliamentary panel has recommended to the government to consider bringing down the juvenile delinquency age from 18 to 16 in cases under the POCSO Act, noting that minor sexual offenders may commit more serious and heinous crimes if left untreated and uncounselled.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by Congress MP Anand Sharma, in its report submitted to the Rajya Sabha on Monday observed that there has been a large number of cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act where the age of juvenile offenders has been below the threshold age for applicability of the law.
The committee said that it believed that minor sexual offenders may commit more serious and heinous crimes if left untreated and uncounselled. Therefore, it is very important to re-look at these provisions “because more and more juveniles are getting involved in such crimes”, the report stated.
“The committee, therefore, recommends that the MHA may take up with MoW&CD (ministry of women & child development) to review the current age limit of 18 years and see if it can be reduced to 16 years for the applicability of the POCSO Act, 2012,” the report said.
The panel said it is of the considered view that due to lack of legal awareness, particularly among minor children and juveniles, they are getting involved in crimes like stalking, online trolling, molesting, etc, in their schools and colleges, considering these as non-criminal activities.
“Therefore, it is necessary to impart knowledge of cyber security to them, so that they do not get targeted by offenders.
“The committee, therefore, recommends that the ministry of home affairs may take up with the ministry of education to include the basics of cyber security in the school curriculum at an early age,” it said. (PTI)