Towards Protection of Children Against Sexual Abuse: No Child’s Play
Pallavi Nautiyal & Arun Mal*
Volume 1 Issue 1 (2010)
Indian society has tried very hard to sweep the issue of child sexual abuse under the carpet. It starts with the family hushing up instances of sexual abuse of children within the family, resulting in underreporting of the issue and a gross underestimation of the gravity of the problem. In a democracy, unless the society recognizes the need for a law to regulate an issue, the issue is not addressed. But the first step is obviously an acknowledgement of the issue itself. After the investigations into the Nithari killings that unearthed the grotesque sexual crimes against children and women,there was intense clamouring for a Bill to effectively deal with the protection of children from abuse. Therefore the Offences against Children (Prevention) Bill, 2005 was drafted. Although it has dealt with many issues, there are problems with the Bill which need to be highlighted. More importantly, the object of the Bill cannot be attained without the relaxation of the corresponding rules of evidence and procedure. This paper seeks to address some preliminary areas of concern with the substantive and procedural aspects of the law dealing with the issue of child sexual abuse, not only with respect to the Bill, but with that of the overarching scheme of child protection in India.