The government today said that it would ascertain if judges refused to hear divorce cases due to fear of attracting penal provisions if they failed to report the incidents of molestation of children by litigating parents.
Nominated member and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has sought deletion of section 19 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 which makes it mandatory for anyone having knowledge about molestation of a child to report it to the police.
Swamy claimed that even judges had to inform the police if they got to know while hearing divorces cases and because of this several judicial officers had refused to take up divorce cases.
Swamy said 21 such cases have been reported spread over the last 4 years. “I will provide names of judges if you want,” he said.
Replying to the debate Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Krishna Raj assured the house that if any information came to the ministry then the government would look into it and consider amendments to the act.
“Child exploitation is a big menace. More than bringing amendments to the Act, there is a need to change the mindset of the people,” she said, highlighting the measures taken to curb sexual harassment on children.
However, Congress member from Karnataka Jairam Ramesh supported the section 19 of the act. He said: “There may be infirmities in the law but I think this amendment is the most ill-advised.”
Ramesh said it was not a mistake but a conscious decision was taken by the then UPA government.
Subramanian Swamy withdrew the bill after the government’s assurance on floor of the house.