Reporting of offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, particularly by doctors, requires strict compliance, failing which the offender committing the offence arising out of a consensual sexual activity or rape or sexual abuse on a child will get away from the clutches of law, said the High Court of Karnataka.
“Responsibility to report is cast on all stakeholders. Therefore, it is necessary for the State to direct strict compliance with Section 19 [reporting of offences], particularly by doctors, who indulge in medical termination of pregnancy of minors in extenuating circumstances,” the Court observed.
Justice M. Nagaprasanna made these observations while refusing to quash the chargesheet filed against medical practitioner, Chandrashekhar T.B. of Chikkamagaluru, for failure to report an offence under POCSO Act.
Dr. Chandrashekar had treated a girl whose age was recorded in hospital documents as 18 years and three months. She had been admitted to the hospital with severe bleeding following an abortion caused by the consumption of tablet for termination of pregnancy.
However, a complaint under POCSO Act was registered about two months after her treatment in the petitioner’s hospital, and it was disclosed in the complaint that the girl was aged only around 12 years and 11 months when she was forced to have sexual intercourse by a 21-year-old boyfriend, who had administered her a tablet to terminate pregnancy resulting in heavy bleeding.
The court refused to accept the contention of the doctor that he had no reason to disbelieve the statement made by the persons, who brought her to hospital, that she is 18 years and three months.
It is highly improbable that the petitioner, with 35 years of experience as a gynaecologist, at the very look of the patient did not get to know that the victim was of tender age, the court observed while pointing that petitioner’s claim on ignorance of victim’s age has to be tested in the trial.