Published: 29th May 2021
Expand scope of POCSO Act, provide legal assistance to sexual abuse survivors: MP Manickam Tagore writes to Modi
Tagore, in his letter, says that it must be made easier for a child to speak up against and report cases of sexual harassment
After numerous accounts from students recounting sexual harassment that they had undergone in schools came to the fore, Congress MP Manickam Tagore has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expand the scope of the POCSO Act. Tagore, in his letter, says that it must be made easier for a child to speak up against and report cases of sexual harassment.
"The present procedure of our criminal justice system puts the same burden of proof on their testimony as that of an adult. In this regard, individuals who speak up against abusers face the time barring constraints to act upon it and see their perpetrators go free," reads the letter. While he lauds the Prevention Of Children From Sexual Offences Act of 2012, he says that with the advent of technology and digital learning, there is a dire need to increase its scope. He also notes that there is a chance of crimes happening in one's household going unnoticed.
Making a reference to the Bombay High Court's infamous skin-to-skin reference, Tagore writes, "The recent ambiguity in the interpretation of certain terms like 'skin-to-skin contact' and further confusion within the judiciary calls for an immediate overhaul of the definitions at the earliest. Survivors of sexual abuse should be given support by the legal system and law of the land, while support in terms of remedial alternatives needs to be provided to those who dare and speak up against their violators."
In a tweet, Tagore hinted that the recent occurrence, where a teacher of Chennai's Padma Sheshadri Bala Bhavan getting arrested for inappropriate behaviour was what prompted him to write the letter. "After the Chennai's PSBB issue it’s clear that different levels of offences are taking place and the law needs to be amended," he tweeted. Recently, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had said that the state would invoke POCSO in online classes.