In its second episode Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate highlighted the issue of child sex abuse and towards the end of the episode Aamir urged people to write in to show their support for the child sex abuse law. Our leaders seemed to have heard him too and yesterday, the legislation to protect children below 18 years from sexual abuse became a reality with the Lok Sabha passing the bill which had earlier been cleared by the Rajya Sabha. This however may lead to some sticky situations for say consensual sexual acts between say a 19 year old and a 17 year old and may allow people to harass youngsters.
However, on the bright side the bill will allow special courts for speedy trial of cases and harsh punishment which may include life term for the offenders. Another upshot is the fact that bill is gender neutral and will protect both boys and girls. Women and child development minister Krishna Tirath said, “The bill is gender neutral (will protect both genders). It seeks to protect children from sexual offences… the burden of proof will be on the accused.” Earlier Satyamev Jayate highlighted how child sex abuse cases were treated indelicately be it in the court-room, hospital or media. Tirath reiterated that everybody below 18 years would be treated as child and would be helped with friendly provisions like in-camera trial, confidentiality and lodging of complaint at the place and time chosen by the victim.
Satyamev Jayate has brought to fore issues like child sex abuse and female foeticide, not your usual dinner table chatter and has actually seen various state government get their act together. The Haryana government has announced that pregnant women will have to submit a photocopy of their identification proof at ultrasound centres as a pre-condition for undergoing the test and there are plans to embed observer chips in ultrasound machines. Aamir Khan also met Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot to discuss the female foeticide situation in the state and convinced him that infanticide cases should be fast-tracked in special court. In MP, 65 MTP (medical termination of pregnancy) licenses were suspended because they hadn’t submitted the necessary documents.