Supreme Court to study whether minors can be punished under POCSO for consensual sex

Bench admits case of a man accused of rape while he was 18 by a girl who was then 17

Updated - March 30, 2021 11:18 pm IST

Published - March 30, 2021 10:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

The Supreme Court has decided to examine whether Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act can be employed to punish teenagers for “consensual” physical relationships which later turn “sour.”

A Bench led by Justice Indira Banerjee admitted the case of a man accused of rape while he was 18 years old by a girl who was 17. The duo had a “relationship” while they were school mates. He however refused to marry her, following which a complaint was filed against him in 2015. The case is based in Tamil Nadu.

The trial court found the man guilty and sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment under the POCSO Act in 2019.

This was despite the fact that the girl had changed her stance during the trial and stated in court that they were in a consensual relationship.

The man, represented by advocate Rahul Shyam Bhandari, approached the Supreme Court after the Madras High Court too refused to accept the girl’s stand that they were in a consensual relationship.

Mr. Bhandari argued that his client and the girl were both “less than 18 years of age at the time of relationship”.

“The boy was a juvenile at the time. Now, the girl and the boy want to settle in life,” Mr. Bhandari submitted before Justice Banerjee’s Bench in the apex court.

The Bench has issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government.

The man’s appeal in the apex court has sought clarity on the law for punishing minors under the POCSO Act for consensual sex. It said the objective of the Act was not to punish adolescents who are in a live-in or physical relationship.

The apex court ordered the State police not to take any coercive action against the appellant.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.