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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » IV. National Mechanisms » Child Related Legislations » India Penal Code and Child related offenses

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Apart from the various acts concerning children, The Indian Penal Code (IPC) also has a list of offences against children. According to the sections 82 and 83 of the IPC a child who commits a crime and is below the age of seven is not considered to have committed a crime. A child who is between the ages of seven and twelve and is deemed to have immature understanding about the consequences of his/her actions is also considered incapable of committing a crime.

Section 315 and 316 discusses the offence of foeticide and infanticide. If a person commits an act with the intention of preventing the child from being born alive or an act that results in the death of the child after birth, that person is committing foeticide/infanticide as long as they do not do it in the interest of the mother's health or life. If a person does an act that amounts to culpable death which results in the quick death of an unborn child, he will be charged with culpable homicide. Section 305 states that it is a crime for any person to abet the suicide of a child, i.e. a person who has not completed eighteen years of age.

Section 317 states that is it a crime against children, if their mother or father expose or leave a child in a place with the intention of abandonment. This does not prevent the law from pursuing further if the abandonment results in the death of the child. The parents would then be charged with culpable homicide or murder.

There are a number of sections in the IPC that discuss kidnapping and abduction. Section 360 states that kidnapping from India is the defined as the conveyance of a person beyond the borders of India without their consent. 361 states that if a male minor of not yet sixteen and female minor of not yet eighteen is taken from their lawful guardians without their consent it is termed kidnapping from lawful guardianship. Section 362 defines abduction as compelling, forcing or deceitfully inducing a person from a place. Section 363-A states, it is a crime to kidnap or maim a minor for the purpose or employment of begging. If a person if found employing a minor for begging, and that person is not the legal guardian of the child, it is assumed that the child has been kidnapped for the purpose of employment in begging. Section 364 states that any person who kidnaps another for the purpose for murdering or disposing of in a way that will lead to murder is punishable by law. Section 364-A defines ransom kidnapping as any person who kidnaps another to threatens to harm or kill that person in an attempt to get the government, or any other foreign or state organisation to do or not do any act. Section 365 discusses kidnapping to secretly or wrongfully confine someone. Section 366 states it is a crime to force or compel or abuse a woman to leave a place in order to force her to marry or seduce or illicit sexual intercourse from her by the kidnapper or another person. 366A specially outlines such a crime being committed against a minor girl who has not attained eighteen years of age. Section 367 states it is a crime to kidnap a person in order to cause them grievous hurt, place them in slavery, or subject them to the unnatural lust of a person. Section 369 is a specific crime of kidnapping a child under 10 years of age in order to steal from them.

Sexual offences against children are also covered in the IPC. Section 372 discusses the selling of a child (below the age of eighteen) for the purpose of prostitution or to illicit intercourse with any person, or knowing that it is likely that the child is being sold for such a purpose. Section 372 states it is a crime to buy a child for the purpose of prostitution or to illicit sex from any person.

Section 376 discusses the offence of rape. Under this section a man who rapes his wife, who is not below twelve years old is given a lesser punishment. The section also discusses special circumstances of rape such as rape committed by a civil servant or police man, rape of a pregnant woman, gang rape or rape of a child below the age of twelve.

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