Topic – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
4) The amendments proposed by the government in relation to POCSO act, 2012, will undermine the right to life enshrined in the Indian constitution. Discuss.(250 words)
Why this question
The Cabinet of the central government has recently given its nod to introduce certain amendments to the POCSO Act, 2012. POCSO act is a stringent act aimed to address child sex abuse and the proposed amendments have made it more so. However, the amendments have been criticized on various fronts by several activists and other people.
Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.
Key demand of the question
The question wants us to write in detail about the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), its proposed amendments and it also want us to bring out how these amendments would affect the right to life as manifested in the constitution.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the recent amendments to the POCSO act. E.g The Union Cabinet has approved amending the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), to introduce the death penalty as a punishment for certain offences.
- Discuss the recently proposed amendments in the POCSO act. E.g
- Death penalty has been prescribed for offences of penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault (Sections 4, 5 and 6).
- Cases of sexual assault by police officers, members of the armed forces, public servants, gang-penetrative sexual assault, and relatives are treated as “aggravated” cases, as are cases where the survivor is less than 12 years old.
- Discuss how the amendments would affect the right to life as enshrined in the constitution. E.g
- POCSO is already a stringent act. Under POCSO there is a presumption that a person who is prosecuted for an offence has actually committed the offence, unless the contrary is proved (Section 29).
- It is especially difficult for the poor or disadvantaged groups to overturn these presumptions.
- Under Article 21 of the Constitution, a person can only be deprived of their life or liberty in accordance with the procedure established by law. This procedure must be just, fair and reasonable.
- Without quality legal representation, it is virtually impossible for an accused to overcome the presumption of guilt. Imposing death penalty in an offence with a presumption of guilt cannot be a just or fair procedure etc.
Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.