While delivering a keynote address at the inaugural session of the National Stakeholders Consultation on Child Protection on Saturday, where the theme was implementation of the Pocso Act, 2012, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud urged Parliament to consider evaluating the ‘age of consent’ under this Act.
The CJI stated that there was growing concern surround this issue, as it posed challenges for judges examining cases of consensual sex involving adolescents.
The concern referred to by the CJI emanates from the POCSO Act, which criminalises all sexual activity for those under the age of 18 regardless of whether consent is factually present between the two minors in a particular case, reported India Today.
The topic for one of the panel discussions during the consultation was regarding the judgments of POCSO courts in “romantic cases” or cases where consenting adolescents engage in sexual activity. The CJI said,
As you are no doubt aware, the POCSO Act criminalizes all sexual activity for those under the age of 18 regardless of whether consent is factually present between the two minors in a particular case.
In my time as a judge, I have observed that this category of cases poses difficult questions for judges across the spectrum. There is growing concern surrounding this issue, which must be considered by the Legislature in light of reliable research by experts in adolescent healthcare.
Talking about the POCSO Act, Chandrachud said the gender-neutral legislation introduced in 2012 was a watershed moment in the history of child rights in India because it finally provided a specialised mechanism for the adjudication of sexual crimes concerning children, while prioritising the best interests of the child.
CJI emphasised on encouraging professional counselling services, especially because many parents are unaware that this can help the child deal with trauma.
- We welcome this suggestion from CJI Chandrachud, as in our publishing experience, several young boys/men have been charged for rape under POCSO, after consensual sex with minor girl (currently under 18-years of age)
- Several courts have over the years observed, that this Act has in a way become a tool, misused by many parents of minor girls, to fix the boy if they are not in agreement with the relationship
- Even in cases, where both the girl and boy are under the age of 18, and where the relationship is with consent, it is only the minor boy who is charged under POCSO
- With changing times, and an open society where girls are indulging in sexual activities voluntarily at a much early stage, government must certainly rethink on reducing age of consent within this Act
- On the other hand, we also strongly feel that there must be uniform marriage age for all in India, so that young girls are not married off early or forced into sexual activities in the name of consent
Leave your suggestions/opinions below:
"Consider Reducing Age Of Consent Under POCSO Act": CJI D Y Chandrachud To Govt
▪️Topic for discussion was judgments of POCSO courts in "romantic cases" where consenting adolescents engage in sexual activity
VFMI welcomes this suggestion. Read our takehttps://t.co/BRzGO4VWBd
— Voice For Men India (@voiceformenind) December 13, 2022
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