Reconsider Age Of Consent In POCSO Act: High Court Directs Law Commission Of India – ABP Live

By: ABP News Bureau | Updated at : 06 Nov 2022 12:58 PM (IST)

Karnataka High Court ( Image Source : Getty )
New Delhi: The Karnataka High Court on Saturday directed the Law Commission of India to take into account the ground realities and reconsider the age of consent in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The court was hearing an appeal filed by police challenging the acquittal of a POCSO accused. 
According to news agency PTI, the division bench of Justices Suraj Govindaraj and G Basavaraja said, “Having come across several cases relating to minor girls above 16 years having fallen in love and eloped and in the meantime, having had sexual intercourse with the boy, we are of the considered opinion that the Law Commission of India would have to rethink on the age criteria, so as to take into consideration the ground realities.”
The girl, then 17, had eloped with the boy in 2017. Though the girl’s parents had filed the complaint, all the witnesses turned hostile. The case continued while the two married and now have two children.
Confirming his acquittal, the court gave directions to the Law Commission as well as the Education Department in Karnataka. The HC observed that it was the lack of awareness of POCSO and IPC that is resulting in many offences being committed by young persons. The bench added that though the lack of knowledge of the law is not an excuse for committing a crime, students should be made aware of the POCSO Act.

“It is also seen that many of the above offences which are deemed offences to have been committed as a result of or on account of lack of knowledge on the part of the minor girl and the boy. Many a time the boy and girl involved are either closely related or very well known to each other being classmates or otherwise,” the court said, as quoted by PTI.
Asserting the need of making students aware of provisions under the POCSO Act, the court stated, “It is required that students especially at least of IX standard onwards, are educated on the aspects of POCSO Act, the acts which are criminalised under the POCSO Act as also under the Indian Penal Code”.
Consequently, the Principal Secretary of the Education Department was directed to constitute a committee to formulate suitable educational material concerning the above and thereafter issue necessary directions to all schools be it government or private, stating that such students are to be educated and forewarned of the consequences of their action, if in violation of the POCSO Act or the IPC.
The case has been relisted for December 5 for the Department to file a compliance report. 
 
(With PTI inputs)
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