Polity & Governance Prelims cum Mains

How govt plans to run registry of sex offenders?

The News

  • In a significant move to help tracking and investigating cases of sexual offences, Ministry of Home Affairs has launched the first ever National Database on Sexual Offenders.

 

Background

  • In a bid to strengthen women safety in the country the union government recently launched two portals including
  1. National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)
  2. Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) portal to enable victims and civil society in general to anonymously  report complaints pertaining to child pornography, child sexual abuse material or sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape.
  • In the backdrop of the infamous 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case, a national-level sex offender’s registry was conceived off in India for the first time.
  • In the backdrop of the recent rape and murder incidents of Kathua, Unnao, Surat etc., the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2018, was passed amending various provisions of Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO).
  • The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2018 provided for a national registry of sexual offenders.
  • With the launch of NDSO, India became the 9th country to have a national-level sex offender’s registry after USA, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and Trinidad & Tobago

 

About NDSO

  • The National Database on Sexual Offenders is a central database of “sexual offenders” maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • The database will contain various details of offenders convicted of rape, gang-rape, under the POCSO Act, and of eve teasing.
  • The database includes name, address, photograph, PAN, Aadhar, DNA samples and fingerprint details for each entry.
  • Unlike in USA, database is accessible to only law enforcement agencies for investigation and monitoring purposes and not common citizens.
  • NDSO will have the data of all those convicts of sexual offenses from 2005.
  • The database however will not have the details of juvenile convict.

 

 

How does it work?

  • The name of a sexual offender will reflect in NDSO as soon as he is convicted and his details are entered into a prison database anywhere in the country.
  • The state prisons will also update the data on appeals against a conviction.
  • Thus an accused can be tracked until an acquittal on appeal.
  • The data of convicts under NDSO will be stored under various categories:
    • ‘Low danger’ category: data of convicts under this category will be stored for 15 years
    • ‘Moderate danger’ data of convicts under this category will be stored for 25 years.
    • Habitual offenders, violent criminals, convicts in gang rapes and custodial rapes: data of convicts under this category will be stored for a lifetime.

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