Bengaluru: Jail for people leaking information about children in POCSO cases

Daijiworld Media Network - Bengaluru (SP)

Bengaluru, Jan 14: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has expressed its unhappiness at the fact that rules which prohibit making public the names, photos, address, family background, school details and neighbourhood in respect of children involved with Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act cases are violated with impunity. Therefore, the police department has prepared to initiate legal action against the concerned. Police officers and individuals who leak the said information will be prosecuted under section 23 of the act which entails jail term of six months to one year for violators.

The commission has noted with concern the fact that investigating officers and district superintendents of police have been casually providing personal details of the children involved. It has written to the police departments of all the states, asking them to initiate action against police officials who fail to maintain secrecy in investigation of POCSO cases. It has also asked the states to send a report to the central office of the commission at Delhi about steps undertaken based on the said letter before January 30. Submission of this report has been made mandatory.

In turn, state director general of police, Neelamani N Raju, has written to all the police commissioners, district superintendents of police and station house officers, asking them to follow all the rules and guidelines on implementation of POCSO Act without fail.

Additional director general of police (crime), Dr S Parashivamurthy, said that in tune with the letter from the commission, the police stations have been issued with memos, asking them to compulsorily follow POCSO guidelines.

Under the said act, children below the age of 18 are treated as children. The act was brought into force to protect children from sexual assault, sexual harassment and vulgar behaviour apart from other crimes. As per the rules, investigating officers cannot give personal details of the child concerned, or opinions and suggestions. Violations of rules are punishable under sub sections 1 and 2 of the act which prescribe six months imprisonment which may be extended to one year for such violations. The details can only be provided if the court permits the same in the best interests of the child.

The commission also wants strict action to be taken against the media firms and reporters who prepare the reports whenever individual details are laid bare by print and visual media concerns. For the offences committed by the reporters, owners of the media concerns involved and publishers too are responsible. Therefore they too have to be prosecuted, the commission has said.



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