Survivors of sexual abuse as minors may now report assault until the age of 30 years, says Maneka Gandhi

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has sent in a proposal raising the age to report sexual abuse till 30 years, according to reports. The move comes nine months after the WCD ministry stated that they will seek a change in the CrPC to allow filing of complaints of child sexual abuse many years after the crime.

In an event, WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said that the age for lodging complaints will be raised to 30 years old now, according to reports.

Gandhi on Tuesday came out in support of actor Tanushree Dutta who alleged that Nana Patekar harassed her on the sets of a film in 2008. Gandhi said that "harassment of any kind will not be tolerated".

In an interview with Republic, Gandhi emphasised the need to start a campaign like #MeToo in India, "wherein whoever has ever been harassed should write to our campaign and we should investigate".

She added that the National Commission of Women is going to register and investigate every complaint, having already solved several thousand such cases.

In January, a survivor of child sexual abuse, a 53-year-old Indian-origin scientist from Canada, had asked for legislative amendments to allow victims to report such crimes even years later in a meeting with Gandhi.

“We are in the process of writing to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asking them to amend Section 473 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). So, time limitation will go away,” Secretary, WCD, RK Shrivastava, had said in February at a press meet. He said that the ministry will pursue the matter with the MHA as it has been receiving “several complaints of incidents that have occurred many years ago”.

Section 468 of the CrPC lays down the time limitations for filing a complaint after an offence has taken place, also called the Statute of Limitations. If the offence is punishable with a fine then it needs to be reported within six months. A crime carrying a term not exceeding one year has a period of limitation of a year. If a crime is punishable between one and three years, then it has to be reported within three years and for anything beyond a three-year jail term, there is no time restriction for reporting the crime.

Section 473 of the CrPC, to which the ministry has sought changes, allows a court to take cognisance of an offence even after the expiry of the period of limitation provided “the delay has been properly explained or that it is necessary to do so in the interests of justice".

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Oct 03, 2018 10:02 AM

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