More than 300 cases have been registered under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code over the past five years in Delhi alone. In 90 per cent cases, the people who were booked were adults, held on charges of abusing children, mostly boys and in few cases, girls.
None of the cases registered were for incidents where there was mutual consent.
Till June 30 this year, 32 cases had been registered under Section 377 IPC in Delhi.
In May, police had arrested a 21-year-old cleric on charges of allegedly sodomising a 10-year-old boy in the Hazrat Nizamuddin area of south Delhi.
Police and child right activists say this is the only section that is slapped against people who abuse children.
According to the Crime Records Bureau information and studies on criminal jurisprudence and child abuse in India, Section 377 is the only legal provision to protect the millions of abused children and to supplement the shortcomings in the rape laws, which apply only when there is a vaginal penetration.
“We have never arrested people where there was a mutual consent. Majority of the reported cases are those of child abuse and crime against weaker sex. In absence of this section we wouldn’t be able to book such offenders,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.
On December 27 last, police had arrested a Home Guard for allegedly sodomising a 16-year-old boy near Kashmere Gate in north Delhi. Police said the accused had lured the teenager to a park where he reportedly sexually assaulted him.
Amod Kanth, chairman, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), said, “Section 377 of the IPC happens to be the only protection of law for children and minors and adults who are sodomised against their will because such sexual assaults fall within the definition of ‘unnatural offences’.”
“Adult transgenders and homosexuals who indulge in consensual sex are usually not punished under the section,” he said.