As a law firm, we would like to provide an informative and detailed opinion on the provisions of Section 42 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. This particular section imposes an obligation on any person who has knowledge or suspicion about the commission of an offence under this act to report the same to the police or Special Juvenile Police Unit or Child Welfare Committee failing which, he/she may be liable for punishment including imprisonment up to six months along with a fine.
The POCSO Act is a comprehensive legislation that aims at protecting children from sexual abuses by defining various forms of sexual abuse and providing stringent punishments for offenders. Section 42 is one such provision aimed at ensuring that all cases pertaining to child abuse are reported without fail so that early intervention can take place and timely action can be taken against perpetrators.
In order to understand how this provision is relevant in case of Non Resident Indians (NRIs), it is important to note that many NRIs have close ties with India and therefore have obligations towards society. Moreover, they are equally bound by laws applicable within Indian territory.
Coming back to Section 42- It essentially provides that if any person, regardless of their nationality or citizenship status, has information regarding commission of any offence under POCSO then they must report it immediately as per their convenience through telephone call in emergency number like “100”/“1098”or through email or fax provided by the concerned authorities.
Failure in doing so can attract punishment including imprisonment for up to six months along with a fine as mentioned earlier. This provision highlights the fact that reporting incidents related child abuse should be deemed as mandatory irrespective whether someone lives in India(fulfilling only moral duty) or outside India(binding both legal duty &moral).
It has been observed previously that many parents residing abroad often turn blind eye towards complaints raised against individuals associated with them due emotional attachments which resulted in creating a hurdle for society to obtain justice .Here comes the crucial role of law in making people recognize and fulfill their duty towards nation by placing such provisions as mandatory obligations.
The intention behind this provision is to make reporting of offences against children a collective responsibility with no exception for anyone, including NRIs or other foreign nationals that have knowledge about them.
In conclusion, it can be noted that Section 42 of POCSO Act provides an important obligation on every person who has information regarding commissioning of any offence under the act to report it immediately failing which they can be held liable for punishment. This aspect should not only be viewed from a legal perspective but also from moral grounds because these offences are directed towards minors and must be dealt with utmost seriousness. Compliance with such essential provisions helps institute social accountability among individuals which helps betterment societal ethics as regards awareness &proactive approach.