Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Monday said she has asked the law ministry to allow people to report incidents of child sexual abuse even “10-15 years” after the crimes were committed, PTI reported.
At present, the Code of Criminal Procedure requires that offences, including child sexual abuse, be reported within three years. Section 473 of the CrPC said a court may take cognisance of an older case if the “delay has been explained properly”.
Gandhi said she was “very happy” that the #MeToo campaign has encouraged women to talk about the sexual harassment they have faced. “One always remembers the person who molested you and we have written to the Union law ministry that one should be allowed to complain without any time limit,” the minister added.
On October 4, Gandhi suggested raising the age limit to report child sexual abuse to 30, PTI reported. “But I know when your body is abused, you remember it always,” the minister had said. “I do not care when the complaint is filed but action should be taken.”
She cautioned people against using the #MeToo movement to “target people who have offended us in some way” and expressed hope that it does not go out of control.
Since October 6, several women on social media have levelled allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against various Indian journalists, media professionals and writers.