The Gujarat High Court on Monday expressed concern that “young boys who themselves are not major, many a times without realising the consequences of their act, or “many a times actuated by frenzy of youth”, “eventually label themselves as offenders in the matters of POCSO”.
The bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice N. V. Anjaria was dealing with a habeas corpus petition by the father of a minor girl who had eloped with a boy who was himself a minor.
Boy and girl both are minor in this case and both eloped with each other with consent. The father of the girl filed complaint against the boy and got him charged under POCSO Act. The girl was not found at the boy’s residence, however, she was staying at one of his relatives’ place
The girl showed her disinclination when inquired specifically by this Court to join the parents. However, she being a minor, her wish would have no relevance. Nonetheless, the court said she cannot be forced to go to her parents, as according to her, they tried to engage her elsewhere before she turns major, so that, she may not be able to exercise her own wish and marry the person of her own choice. The girl has not even cleared her 10th Grade and is keen to study further.
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Noticing the fact that she is unwilling to join the parents, at this stage, the court found it apt house her at Women Protection Home, Patan where she shall be kept for the period of 8 weeks initially. The parents, if are keen to meet the daughter at the Women Protection Home, will happen in presence of one of the office bearers of the Women Protection Home and with a clear understanding to the parents that in no manner she shall be forced to do anything against her wish and will.
Court Observations On POCSO Charges Against Minor Boy
Observing how the accused boy was a minor himself and is yet to be found, the bench lamented,
We are also at pain to learn that though he himself is a minor, he has chosen to take away the corpus who is a minor, lending himself in the net of the law, particularly of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).
With regards to the POCSO Act, the Court appreciated,
This Act is brought on the statute book with laudable objectives, with a view to protect the girl child in the society, with more and more offences affecting the girl children.
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However, the court also remarked,
Right kind of understanding needs to be given, in the form of legal awareness amongst the children and the college students so that the society can simultaneously protect very young minor boys, who due to their lack of understanding of law, turn into the offenders in serious matters.
The bench said,
It has been noticed in several Habeas Corpus petitions that young boys who themselves are not major, owing to their careless approach towards stringent laws, are rounded up to face serious consequences of rigorous punishment prescribed under the law.
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Accordingly, the bench directed the concerned Superintendent of Police, to take up this issue with the Anti Human Trafficking cell and the District Legal Services Authority for creating awareness amongst the youngsters.
- How is a mind of a minor boy different than that of a minor girl
- While girl gets advantage of her gender despite her consent, the boy has to face law without any criminal intentions
- There have been cases where a minor boy is charged under POCSO if he had consensual sex with an adult woman, but later the woman filed rape against him
- Our laws are extremely biased against the male gender, and does not even spare boys who can be scared for life
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