Bill fixing 16 yrs as consent age for sex

New Delhi: A bill fixing 16 years as the age of consent for sex is among other proposed legislations slated for introduction in Parliament during the current Budget session.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill which seeks to bring sexual offences against children under legal purview for the first time and award harsh punishment to offenders, will be tabled during the session which began on Monday.

Earlier reports that the proposed bill would legalise consensual sexual relations between 12-year olds, had generated a lot of hue and cry.

But the Women and Child Development Ministry was quick to clarify that the draft of the bill does not talk about legally permitting 12-year-old children to have non-penetrative sex and instead fixes the age of consent at 16 years and above.

Ministry sources said the bill might be introduced in the second half of the session as it was yet to be cleared by the Cabinet.

Another proposed legislation to be introduced this session seeks to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings or paintings.

The Women`s Reservation Bill is also among the 31 bills to be brought for consideration and passage during the three-month session.

The bill, already passed by Rajya Sabha, seeks to provide one third reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies.

In her address to the joint session of Parliament today, President Pratibha Patil expressed the hope that the women`s bill would be considered by the Lok Sabha at the earliest.

However, the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill was still under the scrutiny of Parliament`s Standing Committee on Women.

The bill, introduced in the last session, seeks to ensure a safe environment for women at work places, both in public and private sectors whether organised or unorganised.