On November 17, a minor girl was allegedly sexually assaulted in a Delhi school by her classmate — a four-year-old boy. While police have registered a case under the provisions of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Assault) on the basis of a complaint by the girl’s parents, it is not very clear how legal proceedings will be taken further in the matter.
Section 82 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code, 1860) provides an absolute exclusion to a minor below seven to be held under any criminal liability.
Legal experts believe the case will be investigated and closed if the boy’s involvement is proved.
“An FIR will have to be registered as it is a cognizable offence. Under Section 6 of POCSO, the FIR would be registered because the victim is below 12. The police will investigate the case and then probably file a closure report if the 4-year-old is indeed involved and submit it to the JJB (Juvenile Justice Board),” says Swagata Raha, a Senior Research Assistant at Centre for Child and Law (CLC), NLSIU, Bangalore.
Section 6(m) of POCSO states “whoever commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below twelve years shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine”.
Former IPS officer PM Nair says he did not receive such cases during his service and strongly believes that a 4-year-old child would not be able to commit such act. “The police would do a thorough background check of the incident, the child and his family and close the case stating reasoning it as a mistake of law,” says Nair.
Stating that in such cases it is the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that steps in, Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy says, “In such cases the accused child should be dealt with under a plan made with a child psychologist, the teachers who know him best, parents and others under the aegis of a CWC (Child Welfare Committee) which is appointed by the Juvenile Justice Act,” says Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy.” CWC is a statutory body appointed under the JJ Act for children in need of care and protection falling in the purview of the Act.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines