Directions issued by Supreme Court of India in respect of sexual abuse/assault of minor child.
In a Recent Judgement by Supreme Court of India, in the matter of “Shankar Kisanrao Khade vs. State of Maharashtra” Criminal Appeal No. 362-363 of 2010 following directions have been passed in Judgement delivered by K.S. Radhakrishnan, J, in respect of sexual abuse or assault of minor,
(1)The persons in-charge of the schools/educational institutions, special homes, children homes, shelter homes, hostels, remand homes, jails etc. or wherever children are housed, if they come across instances of sexual abuse or assault on a minor child which they believe to have committed or come to know that they are being sexually molested or assaulted are directed to report those facts keeping upmost secrecy to the nearest S.J.P.U. or local police, and they, depending upon the gravity of the complaint and its genuineness, take appropriate follow up action casting no stigma to the child or to the family members.
(2) Media personals, persons in charge of Hotel, lodge, hospital, clubs, studios, photograph facilities have to duly comply with the provision of Section 20 of the Act 32 of 2012 (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012) and provide information to the S.J.P.U., or local police. Media has to strictly comply with Section 23 of the Act as well.
(3) Children with intellectual disability are more vulnerable to physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Institutions which house them or persons in care and protection, come across any act of sexual abuse, have a duty to bring to the notice of the J.J. Board/S.J.P.U. or local police and they in turn be in touch with the competent authority and take appropriate action.
(4) Further, it is made clear that if the perpetrator of the crime is a family member himself, then utmost care be taken and further action be taken in consultation with the mother or other female members of the family of the child, bearing in mind the fact that best interest of the child is of paramount consideration.
(5) Hospitals, whether Government or privately owned or medical institutions where children are being treated come to know that children admitted are subjected to sexual abuse, the same will immediately be reported to the nearest J.J. Board/SJPU and the JJ Board, in consultation with SJPU, should take appropriate steps in accordance with the law safeguarding the interest of child.
(6) The non-reporting of the crime by anybody, after having come to know that a minor child below the age of 18 years was subjected to any sexual assault, is a serious crime and by not reporting they are screening offenders from legal punishment and hence be held liable under the ordinary criminal law and prompt action be taken against them, in accordance with law.
(7) Complaints, if any, received by NCPCR, S.C.P.C.R. Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and Child Helpline, NGO’s or Women’s Organizations etc., they may take further follow up action in consultation with the nearest J.J. Board, S.J.P.U. or local police in accordance with law.
(8) The Central Government and the State Governments are directed to constitute SJPUs in all the Districts, if not already constituted and they have to take prompt and effective action in consultation with J. J. Board to take care of child and protect the child and also take appropriate steps against the perpetrator of the crime.
(9) The Central Government and every State Government should take all measures as provided under Section 43 of the Act 32/2012 to give wide publicity of the provisions of the Act through media including television, radio and print media, at regular intervals, to make the general public, children as well as their parents and guardians, aware of the provisions of the Act.