New Delhi: The Central government on Friday submitted a letter to the Supreme Court stating that it had initiated the process to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in bid to ensure maximum punishment of death penalty for rapists of children between the age-group of 0 and 12, news agency ANI reported. The Centre submitted its report while responding to a Public Interest Litigation filed in the matter. The move by the Centre comes at a time when the horrific rape and murder of an eight-year-old child in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua shook the collective conscience of the nation, triggering a massive outrage in the past few weeks.
The apex court has listed the matter for further hearing on April 27. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Union Minister for Child and Woman Development, Maneka Gandhi, wrote to Chief Ministers of all states and union territories highlighting the necessary steps that need to be taken to deal with sexual offenses and suggesting the re-training of police officers dealing with various aspects of sexual crimes. In a letter addressed to the heads of all the states and UTs, Gandhi reportedly outlined various steps that can be taken to prevent and curb crimes against women and children.
The letter also suggested that police officers can be instructed to give utmost priority to complete the investigation of cases of sexual offenses against the children as per the timelines of law. The letter also advised the governments of the states to ensure that strict action is taken against the police officer found guilty of obstructing the probe or colluding with perpetrators of such cases, reports said.
An eight-year-old girl, belonging to minority Muslim community, was abducted, brutally raped, tortured and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district in January. However, the massive outcry over the ghastly was triggered by the filing of the chargesheet by the police in the case two weeks ago, which gave the gory details of the crime against the child.
In the last one week, three incidents of rape and murder of minor girls at wedding functions in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah and Chhattisgarh have been reported.