Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 11
India is set to outlaw storage of child porn materials besides penalising non-destruction of photos, videos, digital content and animations depicting sexually explicit images of kids.
In a first, the government has defined child pornography as an offence, making it part of the amendments to The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2015, the Union Cabinet approved yesterday.
The offence of child pornography will consist of, “Any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child, which includes photographs, videos, digital or computer-generated images indistinguishable from an actual child even if the image is created, adapted or modified and appears to depict a child.”
New amendments make it possible for law enforcers to nab perpetrators who were getting away due to anomalies in existing laws.
POCSO Amendment Bill, to be introduced in Parliament next week, says people who store or possess pornographic material in any form involving a child and fail to delete, destroy or report it to the designated authority with the intention of sharing or transmitting it will now be liable to punishment with a minimum Rs 5,000 penalty at the first instance and Rs 10,000 for the subsequent offence. The maximum penalty has been left open-ended.
The previous version of POCSO Act prescribed a penalty of just Rs 1,000. The new Bill adds that any person who possesses pornographic material — for transmitting, propagating, distributing except when he wants to report and use as evidence in court — will be punished with imprisonment of either description, which may extend to three years with fine or with both.
1,023 dedicated fast-track courts
The government is expected to approve a recommendation by the WCD Ministry to set up 1,023 fast-track courts from the Nirbhaya Fund for dedicated trial of sex crimes against women and children. The project aims at easing severe pendency of POCSO cases (around 90,000 cases as per National Crimes Record Bureau data
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