The Penal code was established over a century ago. It has been amended in 1995 intending to prevent uprising crimes against Children and Women. Penal Code No.22 of 1995 Act (Amendment), was re amended again with No. 29 of 1998(Amendment) Act and No.16 of 2006 (Amendment) Act. These Amendment Acts specified the penalties in wider range for crimes against Children and Women including Sexual Abuse, Harassments and Exploitation. These amendments considered the psychological and mental state of the victims. Further to that, there was a special attention towards the sexual crimes against children.
The following chart provides information clearly.
|LEGAL PROVISION||OFFENCE||RELAVANT PENAL CODE AMENDMENT ACT|
|S.286 A||Obscene publication and exhibition relating to children.||No 22 of 1995 No 29 of 1998|
|S. 286B||A person who provides a service by means of a computer shall take all such steps as are necessary to ensure that such computer facility is not used for the commission of an act constituting an offence relating to the sexual abuse of a child.||No. 16 of 2006|
|S. 286C||Duty to inform of use of premises for child abuse and who fails to do so is an offence||No. 16 of 2006|
|S. 288||Causes beg or procuring.||No. 29 of 1998|
|S.288 A||Hiring or employing children to act as procurers for sexual intercourse.||No. 29 of 1998|
|S. 288B||Hiring or employing children to traffic in restricted articles||No. 29 of 1998|
|S.308A||Cruelty to children||No. 22 of 1995|
|S. 311||Grievous hurt||No. 22 of 1995|
|S. 345||Sexual harassment||No. 22 of 1995|
|S. 360 A||Procuring||No. 22 of 1995|
|S. 360 B||Sexual Exploitation at Children||No. 22 of 1995|
|S. 360C||Trafficking||No. 22 of 1995 & No. 16 of 2006|
|S. 360 E||Solicit to groom a child||No. 22 of 1995|
|S. 363 C||Rape||No. 22 of 1995|
|S. 364A||Incest||No. 22 of 1995|
|S. 365||Unnatural Offences||No.22 of 1995|
|S. 365A||Acts of gross indecency between persons||No. 22 of 1995|
|S.365 B||Grave Sexual Abuse||No. 22 of 1995|
|S.365C||Publication of matter relating to certain offences||No. 22 of 1995|
The turning point of statutory law regarding Violence against Children, Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse is No 22 of 1995 Penal Code (Amendment Act). It is also vital to refer to the two amendments which are No. 29 of 1998 and No 16 of 2006.
Apart from these, the following laws are vital in referral.
- No 4 of 1841 Vagrant’s Ordinance
- No 5 of 1889 Brothel House ordinance
- No 4 of 1927 Obscene publication and exhibition ordinance
- No 48 of 1956 Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act
Sri Lankan Law Pertaining to Exploitation of Children in Cyber Space
No. 22 of 1995 Penal Code (Amendment) Act
286A Obscene Publication and Exhibition Relating to Children
(1) Any person who –
(a) Hires, employs, assists persuades, uses, induces or coerces any child to appear or perform, in any obscene or indecent exhibition or show or to pose or model for to appear in any obscene or indecent photograph or film or who sells or distributes or otherwise publishes or has in his possession or film ; or
(b) Being the parent, guardian or person having the custody of a child to be employed or to participate in any obscene or indecent exhibition or show or to pose or model for or to appear in any such photograph or film as is referred to in paragraph (a);
(c) (i) takes or assists in taking of any indecent photograph of a child; or
(ii) distributes or shows any such photograph or any publication containing such photograph;
(iii) has in his possession for distribution or showing any such photograph or publication;
(iv) publishes or causes to be published, any such photograph or publishes or causes to be published, any advertisement capable of conveying the message that the advertiser or person named in the advertisement distributes or shows any such photograph or publication or intends to do so, coughs the offence of obscene publication and exhibition relating to children and shall on conviction be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not less than two years and not exceeding ten years and may also be punished with fine.
S, 360B. – Sexual Exploitation at Children
(a) knowingly permits any child to remain in any premises, for the purposes of causing such child to be sexually abused or to participate in any form or sexual activity or in any obscene or indecent exhibition or show;
(b) acts as a procurer of a child for the purposes of sexual intercourse or for any form of sexual abuse;
(c) induces a person to be a client of & child for sexual intercourse or for any form of sexual abuse, by means of print or other media, oral advertisements or other similar means;
(d) takes advantage, of his Influence over, or his relationship to, a child, to procure such child for sexual intercourse or any form of sexual abuse;
(e) threatens, or uses violence towards, a child to procure such child for sexual intercourse or any form of sexual abuse;
(f) gives monetary consideration, goods or other benefits to a child or his parents with intent to procure such child for sexual intercourse or any form of sexual abuse,
commits the offence of sexual exploitation of children and shall on conviction be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not less than five years and not exceeding twenty years and may also be punished with fine.
(2) In this section a “child” means an individual less than eighteen years of age.
No. 29 of 1998 Penal Code (Amendment) Act
S.286 A. Obscene Publication, Exhibition relating to children
(2) Any person who, being a developer of photographs or films, discovers that any photograph or film given to him for developing is an indecent or obscene photograph or a film of a child, shall, forthwith on such discovery, inform the officer in charge of the nearest police station that he has in his possession, such photograph or film.
(3) Whoever being a developer of photographs or films acts in contravention of the provisions of subsection (2) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both”.
No. 16 of 2006 Penal Code (Amendment)
286B. (1) A person who provides a service by means of a computer shall take all such steps as are necessary to ensure that such computer facility is not used for the commission of an act constituting an offence relating to the sexual abuse of a child.
NO. 04 OF 1927 Obscene Publications Ordinance
- No. 22 OF 1983 and No. 12 of 2005 (amended)
- (1) for the first offence, with a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred rupees or imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or with both such fine and imprisonment; and
- (2) for a subsequent offence committed after a conviction for the first offence, with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months and in addition with a fine not exceeding five thousand rupees, to do any of the following acts namely :-
(a) for purposes of or by way of trade or for distribution or public exhibition to make or produce or have in possession for purposes stated or otherwise, obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph films, video cassettes or any other obscene objects;
(b) for the purposes above mentioned to import, convey, or export or cause to be imported, conveyed, or exported any of the said obscene matters or things, or in any manner whatsoever to put them in to circulation;
(c) to carry on or take part in a business, whether public or private, concerned with any of the said obscene matters or things, or to deal in the said matters or things in any manner whatsoever, or to distribute them or to exhibit them publicly or to make a business of lending them;
(d) to advertise or make known by any means whatsoever, in view of assisting in the said punishable circulation or traffic, that a person is engaged in any of the above punishable acts, or to advertise or to make known how or from whom the said obscene mailers or things can be procured either directly or indirectly.
Irrespective of the age, law enforcement authorities widely use this legal provision for an incident related to Obscene Publication. In order to obtain evidences through computer devices N0. 24 of 2007 Computer Crime Act is applied.
No 48 of 1956 Harmful Publications Act (Children and Young Persons)
This Act shall apply to every book, magazine or other publication which is of a kind likely to fall into the hands of any child or young person and which consists wholly or mainly of such stories told in pictures, whether with or without the addition of written matter, as portray-
(a) the commission of any crime, or
(b) any act of violence or cruelty, or
(c) any incident of a repulsive or horrible nature,
in such a way that such book, magazine or other publication would tend to corrupt a child or young person into whose hands it might fall.
ADMISSIBILITY OF AUDIO VISUAL RECORDINGS, AND OF INFORMATION CONTAINED IN STATEMENTS PRODUCED BY COMPUTERS
Evidence Act (Special Provisions) No 14 of 1995
This has imposed the introduction of legislation with a view of facilitating the proper use of electronic evidence such as CCTV recordings. Admissibility of the evidence of an exploited child online is admitted before courts under the same application. The Act has defined a “computer” under section 12 as “any device, the functions of which includes the storing and processing of information.” The Act also defines a “statement” to include “any representation of fact whether made in words or otherwise.”
Nowadays the transactions take place via Information Communication technologies. For instance, Bank transactions, E- libraries and Online job applications etc. These kind of activities are involved with the sharing of personal details among individuals and institutions. Section 8 of this act provides steps to follow, as to how Governmental and Statutory bodies should maintain electronic signatures and records. Paragraph 3 of this act states the steps to follow when forming agreements under electronic media.
No 36 of 2003 Intellectual Property Act
The Act provides protection for literary, artistic and scientific work. The scope of scientific work includes inter alia, computer programs. There is provision that any library or archives whose activities do not serve direct or indirect commercial gain may without the authorization of the author or other owner of copyright make a single copy of the work by reprographic reproduction.
A new provision has been made for the Director General of Intellectual Property (Director) to settle disputes without the necessity of resorting to litigation. The new Act provides that upon an application made in the prescribed form and manner by a person aggrieved by any of his copyrights being infringed or in any other manner affected, the Director may after such inquiry as he thinks fit, decide any question that may be necessary or expedient to decide in connection with such parties until the matters are finally decided by a court.
Jurisdiction is given to Provincial High Courts established by Provincial High Court (Special Provisions) Act No. 10 of 1996.
No 24 of 2007 Computer Crimes Act
The basis of the Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007 is to criminalize attempts at unauthorized access to a computer, computer program, data or information.
According to Section 5 of this Act, Any person who, intentionally and without lawful authority causes a computer to perform any function knowing or having reason to believe that such function will result in unauthorized modification or damage or potential damage to any computer or computer system or computer program, shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding three hundred thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for as term which may extend to five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
According to section 8 of this Act, Any person, who, knowingly or without lawful authority intercepts— (a) any subscriber information or traffic data or any communication, to, from or within a computer ; or (b) any electromagnetic emissions from a computer that carries any information, shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than one hundred thousand rupees and not exceeding three hundred thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not less than six months and not exceeding three years, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Provisions have been made in the Act to designate a panel of ‘Experts’ to assist the Police in the investigation of computer crime offences. Special Permission is required for the investigations to access to the computer tools, sealing and it can be done by expertise. When a child is exploited online, such required information or data that are considered as evidence can be brought before court after being investigated by an expert.
Following laws also provide the legal framework on these type of offences.
- Information and Communication Technology Act No 27 of 2003
- Payment and Settlement Act No 28 of 2005
- Electronic Transactions Act No 19 of 2006
- Payment Devices and Fraud Act No 30 of 2006`