Should any sort of sexual activity, even when it's non-penetrative sex, be made legal for pre-teens?
It's called the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Bill 2010, but what it's seeking to do may be a little different from the expectations parents have.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has sent this proposal to states which suggests, among other things, that the consensual age for all sexual activities other than actual penetration be reduced to 12.
It further advises that an age limit be imposed for youngsters indulging in consensual non-penetrative sex, in that for the age group of 12 to 14, the maximum age gap between partners can be two years and for 14 to16, three years.
While the Bill may seemingly serve to encourage teen sexual activity, the reasons behind it are not completely out of line. According to The Times of India [ Images ], Aparna Bhat, a Supreme Court lawyer stated that this latest draft of the Bill is only to "decriminalise sexual exploration by two children".
Under the existing law, if two youngsters of the same age, say 12 years, indulge in consensual physical intimacy and one's parents decide to complain, the other can be booked by the Juvenile Justice Board. The Bill merely seeks to decriminalise such minor issues, according to Bhat.
However, not everyone shares her views. TOI reported that chairperson of the Delhi [ Images ] Child Welfare Committee Raaj Mangal thought the proposals the Bills make 'disastrous'. "Twelve, given the mind and maturity of a child, is not an age to give consent, be it penetrative or non-penetrative sex. In the name of decriminalising, you can't keep sexual acts between children out of the notice of the authorities," Mangal was quoted as saying.
What do you think of the suggestions incorporated into the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Bill 2010?
Do you agree with the stand it is taking or think that such amendments to the law will only serve to encourage youngsters' sexual activities?
Let us know your stand on the issue by posting your views and opinions on the form below and we will be publishing them right here (e-mail IDs will not be disclosed).
Photograph: Muramasa/Wikimedia Commons