The Law Ministry has endorsed a proposal of the Women and Child Development Ministry to remove the time limit for reporting child sexual abuse, WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday.
Ms. Gandhi had, on October 3, written to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asking him to remove the time limit for reporting child sexual abuse and allow people to complain even "10-15 years later".
She told reporters that the Law Ministry has agreed to their proposal and endorses the removal of the time limit for reporting such crimes. The further course would be soon decided, a senior WCD official said.
Under Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), any offence, including child abuse, which can lead to a prison term of three years has to be reported within three years of the incident.
According to Section 473 of the CrPC, a court may take cognisance of an older case if it is in the "interest of justice" or if the "delay has been properly explained". However, victims of child sexual abuse often face problems in registering an FIR once they are 18 years of age or more. In her letter, Maneka Gandhi had urged the Law Minister that people should be allowed to lodge their complaint even "10-15 years later".
"It doesn't matter how much later. If you're going to complain, the avenue is open," she had earlier said. "We are of the view that cases of child sexual abuse can be reported by the victim at any time and law enforcement agencies would be required to take appropriate actions on the complaint of such victim," she said in the letter.
Many children, the minister said, are unable to report such crimes as the perpetrator in most cases is either a family member, a relative or a closely known person.
"Studies have also shown that the child continues to carry the trauma of sexual abuse until very late in life," Maneka Gandhi wrote to Prasad. She had earlier proposed that child sexual abuse victims be allowed to register complaints until they are 30.