Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 which came into effect from 14th November, 2012 is a comprehensive law to provide for the protection of children from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated Special Courts. The statement of OBJECTS and REASONS of the POCSO Act, 2012 clearly mentions that “the interests of the child both as a victim as well as a witness need to be protected”, thereby providing protection of child victim as well as witness under this Act. On reporting of the offence, care and protection is to be provided within 24 hours and matter is reported to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within same period. The media is barred from disclosing the identity of the child unless specifically permitted by the Court. It shall be ensured that child does not come into contact of accused and will not be detained at police station during night. The statement of the child will be recorded in the presence of a parent or any person in whom child has trust or confidence. The Act specifically stipulates that the dignity of the child is maintained all the time.
In addition, provisions under other relevant legislations such as Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Amendment Act, 2006 (Section 21), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, Indian Evidence Act, 1872 also takes care of protection of all victims and witnesses including a child.
This information was given by Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a starred question in Rajya Sabha today.