Country And Parliament Should Pay Attention To The “Age” For Teen’s Consensual Sex: Bombay High Court 

Country And Parliament Should Pay Attention To The “Age” For Teen’s Consensual Sex: Bombay High Court 

Country And Parliament Should Pay Attention To The “Age” For Teen’s Consensual Sex: Bombay High Court 

 

Justice Dangre set aside the order of conviction and acquitted the man. The court observed that the evidence on record clearly makes out a case of consensual sex. The court ordered the accused person to release him from jail.

The Bombay High Court has suggested lowering the age limit for teenagers to have consensual sex. The court has said that many countries have lowered the age of consent for teenagers to have sex and it is time that our country and the Parliament are also aware of the happenings across the world reported amarujala.

A single bench of Justice Bharati Dangre, in an order passed on July 10, expressed concern over the increasing number of criminal cases under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, where the accused are still punished when the victims, despite being juveniles, state that they were in a consensual relationship.

Sexual autonomy includes both the right to engage in desired sexual activity and the right to be protected from unwanted sexual aggression, said the Bombay High Court. Only when both aspects of adolescent rights are recognised, can human sexual dignity be considered to be fully respected. The court made the remarks on an appeal filed by a 25-year-old man challenging the February 2019 order of a special court, which convicted him for raping a 17-year-old girl.

The boy and the girl had claimed that they were in a consensual relationship. The girl, in her plea before the special court, had claimed that she was considered a major under Muslim law and hence had ‘married’ with the accused person.

Justice Dangre set aside the order of conviction and acquitted the man. The court observed that the evidence on record clearly makes out a case of consensual sex. The court ordered the accused person to release him from jail.

The High Court said that the age of consensual relationship should be distinguished from the age of marriage as sexual acts are not within the purview of marriage and not only the society but also the judicial system should pay attention to this important aspect. The High Court further noted that over time the age of consent has been increased by various laws in India. It was maintained at 16 from 1940 to 2012, after which the POCSO Act raised the age of consent to 18, possibly one of the highest globally, as most countries set the age of consent to 14. to 16 years.

It added that in countries such as Germany, Italy, Portugal and Hungary, children as young as 14 are considered competent to consent to sex. The age of consent is 16 in London and Wales and 13 in Japan, the court said. Justice Dangre observed that the scenario that has emerged is that a girl child below the age of 18 years is expected not to engage herself in sexual activity and even if she does, she should be actively involved in the activity. Being a partner, his consent is immaterial and there is no consent in the eyes of law.

As a result of this scenario, the High Court said, even if a boy of 20 years of age has sex with a girl of 17 years and 364 days, he will be found guilty of rape, even if the girl has clearly Admitted that she was also equally involved in the sexual relationship. A minor is not considered capable of giving valid consent in the eyes of law to have consensual sex.

The issue of physical attraction or love always comes to the fore when a juvenile enters into sexual relations and it is high time that our country is also aware of the happenings across the world, Justice Dangre said in the judgement. It is necessary for our country to look at whatever is happening around the world in this regard, he said.

But one thing is certain, said the judge, that in this entire scenario, if a young boy is held guilty of raping a minor girl merely because she is below 18 years of age but is an equal participant in the act, then He will suffer serious injury, which he will have to bear for the rest of his life. Ultimately, it is for the Parliament to consider the said issue taking cognizance of the cases coming before the courts, which comprise a large proportion of romantic relationships, the court said.

Justice Dangre said, in the case of juveniles who succumb to the attraction of the opposite sex and enter into sexual intercourse on impulse, only one has to face the consequences for having committed the offense of rape, even if the other commits the same offence get involved in the act.

 

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