Police invoke PCSOA against 3 minors

In a first, Mumbai Police have invoked Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (PCSOA), 2012, against minors in two cases.

While MHB Colony Police booked 14-year-old twins for sexually assaulting a 11-year-old school mate twice last year, Mahim Police booked a 15-year-old boy for allegedly molesting a seven-year-old girl.

The twins, who are in "preventive care", would, however, be produced before the juvenile justice board, not a special court as PCSOA suggests.

The twins and the girl share a suburban neighbourhood and attended the same school in Borivali.

One of the twins allegedly lured the girl to a compound in the neighbourhood by offering to play in June last year and molested her. His brother allegedly repeated the act in December last year.

The boys have been booked under sections 4, 8 and 12 of PCSOA for penetrative sexual assault.

Police claimed after the incidents, the girl was found to be unusually quiet in school. Sensing something was amiss, a teacher confronted her and she revealed the assaults. School authorities then alerted her father, who lodged a police complaint.

"The boys were detained Wednesday and sent to the Dongri children home by a juvenile court," said Suresh Kilje, senior inspector.

The 15-year-old detained by Mahim Police and the girl he allegedly molested are also neighbours. "The incident occurred around a month ago, but the victim mustered courage to reveal it only on Thursday. She came to the police station with parents," said DCP (zone 5) Dhananjay Kulkarni.

The girl has alleged the accused took her to his house when she was playing and molested her. Police are verifying her claim and trying to find out if the teen similarly targeted other minors in the area.

While PCSOA is primarily invoked in cases of sexual offence involving adults, its section 34 states if "any offence under this act is committed by a child, such child shall be dealt with under the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000."

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