POCSO: ‘The age of minor offender should be reduced from 18 to 16’, the Center rejected the recommendation of the panel


The Central Government has rejected the view of the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, which recommended that the age of offense should be reduced from 18 to 16 and all those who are above the age of 16 involved in a child sex offense should be charged with sexual offenses. Action should be taken under the Protection of Children Act. In India, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development told the panel that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, is the primary law for children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law. The government, in its reply to the panel, said that a child accused of an offense under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses) Act is protected on the basis of the principle of justice restored under the provisions of the JJ Act, 2015. The JJ Act, 2015 empowers the Juvenile Justice Board to decide the cases of children in conflict with the law.


The government further said that the offenses committed by children are classified as ‘minor, serious and heinous offences’ and there is already a provision to treat them as adults under the JJ Act. The JJ Act, 2015 also covers the process of adjudicating cases where children above the age of sixteen years are accused of committing heinous crimes.

Significantly, Hindustan Times first reported on March 11 that this committee had recommended reducing the age of the accused as adults from 18 years to 16 years under the POCSO Act. The committee’s panel had noted a steady increase in cases registered under the POCSO Act between 2017 and 2019. The number of cases registered under POCSO in 2017 was 32608, which increased to 47325 in 2019. This POCSO Act was implemented in 2012. In this, the provision of life imprisonment and death sentence was made to investigate the increasing crimes against children and after being found involved in the crime.


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