The POCSO Act And Reporting Sexual Crimes Against Minors
The case involves a hotel manager accused of not reporting a sexual offense of rape committed with a minor schoolgirl in a hotel, as mandated by the POCSO Act.
Section 19 of the POCSO Act enforces the mandate of reporting sexual offenses against minors by anyone having apprehension or knowledge of a potential, or committed offense.
Section 21 of the POCSO Act penalizes the failure to report crimes against minors prescribing a fine for the failure to report or imprisonment.
Himachal Pradesh High Court’s ruling –
The said case recently raised legal questions concerning the bailability of offences under the Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
It has been ruled by the Himachal Pradesh High Court that failure to report sexual crimes against minors as mandated under section 21 of the POCSO Act is a bailable offense referring to CrPC.
The CrPC Reference –
The High Court justified this by making a reference to the code of criminal procedure, CrPC stating crimes punishable with imprisonment of less than three years are bailable and section 21 of the POCSO Act prescribes punishment for not reporting as imprisonment of six months to a year.
Children under the POCSO Act are exempted from the liability for failing to report and section 22 of the POCSO Act protects children making false complaints.