17th Lok Sabha should legislate Law banning parents from physically punishing kids

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Representational Image. (Image credit: U.S. Air Force graphic.)

The island country in East Asia – Japan, known as an ageing country, understands well the value of children as do the people in Europe’s Iberian Peninsula such as Spain or Portugal which have relatively small populations. Therefore, the children which are the future of the respective countries are considered valuable unlike in India, where many infants are abandoned. As a precaution to safeguard the future, the Japanese government on March 19, 2019 approved a plan to revise the Child Abuse Prevention Law and institute changes to legally prohibit parents and guardians from physically punishing children.

According to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the revised bill and related legislation will be deliberated upon during the ongoing Parliamentary Session with the aim to be enacted in April 2020, Abe added, it is the responsibility of all adults to protect the lives of children. The government is going to powerfully and swiftly work to take steps to prevent child abuse, he stressed in the cabinet meeting before endorsing the bill.

It is worth mentioning that the draft bill also requires full-time, in-house lawyers and doctors to be based at child welfare centres so that information and professional expertise can be easily shared. In addition, the revisions also require schools, education boards and child welfare centres to adhere to confidentiality requirements.

This revision is aimed at better safeguarding abused children and ensuring that abusive parents and guardians cannot coerce institutions into providing potentially damaging information or make decisions that could further put an at-risk child in danger.

In India, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was established to protect the children against offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography. It was formed to provide a child-friendly system for trial underneath which the perpetrators could be punished. The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. It also makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimization of the child at the hands of the judicial system.

It will not be wrong to state that the said law in India is not strong enough to prevent child abuse or rape of minors across the nation. Also there are a number of minor pregnancies and female babies who are still being abandoned in spite of the POCSO Act.

Next comes child labour. Of course the economic situation of India has compelled many families from the middle class and Below Poverty Line section of the society to make their children work so as to make ends meet. This means the children too have to extend their helping hand to earn a living. The only means to prevent child labour is to provide vocational training to the children of the said section of the society along with stipends, so that their respective family will have a decent meal for the day.

On the other hand, the affluent in the society, known to be a career conscious section, are the ones who raise the bar in a rat-race, where both the parents are working, while the children are suffocated with the latest gadgets and hefty pocket money as compensation for the parents not being able to provide time to their children. It may be said that they have knowingly exposed their children to the world wide world of social networks and it is well known how this has led to various shades of crimes across the nation.

As the nation is celebrating the largest festival of democracy in the world, the aspirant Parliamentarians should also take up the issues of Child and Women protection, and take a lesson from the proposed bill of the Japan Parliament.