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Judiciary

Object of POCSO Act not to criminalise consensual adoscelent relationships: Karnataka HC [Read Order]

By Rintu Mariam Biju      27 February, 2024 11:08 AM      0 Comments
Object of POCSO Act not to criminalise consensual adoscelent relationships Karnataka HC

BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court has clarified that the object of POCSO Act is to protect minors from sexual abuse and not to criminalize the consensual relationship between two adolescents. 

While dealing with a petition seeking to quash a criminal case against a 21-year-old, against whom offences under the Indian Penal Code, POCSO Act and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act were registered, the Court noted that both the petitioner and the survivor came from the lower socio economic segment and therefore, wasn’t aware of  the consequences of engaging in consensual sexual intercourse (with a minor).

 “The object of POCSO Act is to protect minors from sexual abuse and not to criminalize the consensual relationship between two adolescents who had consensual sexual intercourse without knowing the consequences. The petitioner and the survivor come from the lower socio-economic segment having limited access to information and knowledge, thus depriving them about the consequences in having consensual sexual intercourse. Though having sexual intercourse consensually with the minor is an offence under the POCSO Act, however, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, to secure the ends of justice, it would be appropriate to quash the impugned proceedings, otherwise, it would result in miscarriage of justice to the survivor and the child”.

 According to the State, the accused married and had sex with the minor despite knowing that she was only 16 years of age. After the plea seeking to quash the case was moved, the survivor and her parents filed a joint affidavit before the High Court stating that the marriage was solemnised “inadvertently” and “in ignorance of law”

Both the victim as well as their newly-born child are dependent on the accused for their livelihood and that continuing the case against her husband would cause more misery to them, the court was informed.

“The petitioner is in judicial custody and is unable to support the survivor and the child. If the criminal proceedings are allowed to continue, it would result in incarceration causing more misery and agony to the survivor and her child rather than securing the ends of justice”, the court noted while quashing the case against the petitioner and releasing him from judicial custody. 

Advocates Abhishek Ramesh and Seetharamu P appeared for the accused. Advocate Vinay Mahadevayya represented the State government and Advocate Gandavarapu Krishna Revanth appeared for the survivor.

 

[Read Order]

 

Also Read - 'Rape in temple premises with 7-yr-old girl,' SC awards 30-year jail to man [Read Order]



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