NEW DELHI: The Union Law Ministry has agreed to a proposal by the Women and Child Development Ministry to remove the time-limit for reporting child sexual abuse, WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday.
“The Law Ministry has agreed to our demand and necessary changes will be made in the relevant laws to allow victims of child sexual abuse to lodge such cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,” she said.
Gandhi had written to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier this month, asking him to remove the time limit for reporting child sexual abuse.At present, under Section 468 of CrPC, any offence, including child abuse, which can lead to a prison term of three years, has to be reported within three years of the occurrence of the incident.According to Section 473 of CrPC, a court may take cognizance of an older case if it is in the “interest of justice” or if the “delay has been properly explained”.
However, victims of child sexual abuse often face problems in registering an FIR once they are 18 or more, Gandhi said. She said she had proposed to the Law Ministry that people can complain even “10-15 years later”. “It doesn’t matter how much later; if you’re going to complain, the avenue is open.”
Many children, the minister said, are unable to report such crimes as the perpetrator is either a family member, a relative or a closely known person. “Studies have also shown that the child continues to carry the trauma of sexual abuse till very late in life,” she wrote in her letter to the Law Ministry.
At present, under Section 468 of CrPC, any offence, including child abuse, which can lead to a prison term of three years, has to be reported within three years of the occurrence of the incident.