Delhi: The Centre has submitted a letter to the Supreme Court stating that they have initiated a process to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to ensure the maximum punishment of death penalty for rapists of children below the age of 12. The Centre was responding to a PIL filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava. The matter, being heard by a Three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misrais, is scheduled to be heard next on April 27.
In the wake of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, there is a nationwide clamor for the most stringent action for the perpetrators in the case. The rape case of an 11-year-old girl from Surat, too, has evoked a sharp response from the opposition.
Voicing her concern over the Kathua incident, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi had said: “I am deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua and all the recent rape cases that have happened on children. I and the ministry intend to bring an amendment to the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act asking for the death penalty for rape on children below 12 years”.
Some state assemblies — Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh — have passed a Bill approving capital punishment for rape of children between the years 0-12.