The Gwalior Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has requested the central government to reduce the age of consensual physical relations between a man and a woman from 18 years to 16 years.
The single-judge bench of Justice Deepak Kumar Agarwal made the remark on Tuesday while hearing a petition filed in connection with a rape case reported on July 17, 2020.
Justice Agarwal was hearing a petition filed by Rahul Chandel Jatav for quashing an FIR registered under relevant sections of the IPC, Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO), and the IT Act. A sessions trial was also pending in the case.
“This Court would like to share its experience as a Judge that before amendments in IPC under Section 375 of IPC regarding age of prosecutrix for the purpose of consent that was 16 years and subsequently enhanced by amendment up to 18 years due to this amendment, fabric of society has been disturbed. Nowadays, every male or female near the age of 14 years due to social media awareness and easily accessible internet connectivity is getting puberty at an early age,” read the judgment.
“Owing to this, female and male children are getting attraction and these attractions are resulting in physical relationship with consent. In these cases, male persons are not at all criminal. It is only a matter of age when they come into contact with a female and develop physical relationships. Only due to this reason, lawmakers in IPC, when it came into force, put the age of female as 16 years since they were well aware of the aforesaid facts,” it added.
The judgment further read, “Generally, girls and boys of adolescence develop friendship and thereafter, due to attraction make physical relationships. But, due to this rider, boy is treated like a criminal in the society. Today, most of the criminal cases, in which prosecutrix is under 18 years of age, due to aforesaid anomaly, injustice is going on with adolescent boys. Thus, I request the Government of India to think over the matter for reducing the age of prosecutrix from 18 to 16 years as earlier before amendments so that injustice should be redressed.”
According to the judgment, the complainant claimed she used to take coaching classes from the petitioner. On January 18, when she reached for her classes, no one else was present there, she said, alleging that she fell unconscious after having juiced offered by him. Thereafter, he sexually assaulted her and also made a video of the act, alleged the complaint.
He had physical relationship with her multiple times by threating her to make the video viral, she alleged.
The complainant came to know she was pregnant in April and informed Rahul, following which he made her take a tablet that caused her miscarriage. Rahul visited her house several times through the roof and had physical relationships with her, the judgement read.
Besides, the complainant also knew Mukesh Chokotia, who studied in her school and was her distant relative, for the last four years. In 2016, Mukesh had physical relationship with her multiple times on the pretext of marriage.
On July 16, 2020, Mukesh came to her locality, snatched her mobile and assaulted her with a stick. He had sent her photos on her sister’s mobile. Based on her complaint, an FIR was registered under relevant sections of the IPC and POCSO Act, according to the judgment.
Justice Agarwal further added, “The impugned FIR as well as all consequential proceedings arising out of crime registered against the present petitioner at Thatipur Police Station, for the offences punishable under Sections 376(2)(F) (n), 376(3), 315 of IPC as well as under Section 5(L)(O)/6 of POCSO Act and 66 of IT Act as well as the Sessions Trial pending before learned 13th Additional Sessions Judge, and Special Judge POCSO Act are hereby quashed.”
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