oppn parties Judiciary and Age of Consent

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court warns Rahul Gandhi to be more careful in future but drops contempt proceedings in the "chor" case
  • In a flip-flop, Vodafone CEO says sorry to the government, sys no plan to exit India
  • Sabarimala case referred to a larger bench as the court says several contentious issues need deeper examination
  • 16 killed as the vehicle they were traveling in plunged into a deep gorge near Jammu
  • Vodafone CEO seeks government relief, saying India operations on the verge of collapse
  • Three teenagers killed in a major accident in Kolkata's New Town area when their Honda City rammed into a road divider and a Metro pillar. The car was mangled
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad not to publicly 'celebrate' Babri Masjid demolition day this year, all events will be closed door
  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
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Judiciary and Age of Consent

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
In a recent case in Punjab & Haryana High Court, Justice Anita Choudhary has ordered that anyone having sex with a girl below 16 years, even with her consent and active participation, would be considered a criminal. She upheld the order of the trial court which had found the appellant guilty of kidnapping and raping a minor girl of 15 years and had sentenced him for 10 years rigorous imprisonment. The judge observed that "a minor girl can be lured into giving consent for such an act without understanding the implications. Such consent, therefore, is treated as not an informed consent given after understanding the pros and cons as well as consequences of the intended action. Therefore, as a necessary corollary, duty is cast upon other person of not taking advantage of the so-called consent given by a girl who is less than 16 years of age." The appellant had argued that the girl had stayed with him, and it was a case of consensual sexual relationship. Hence he prayed for leniency and quashing of the prison term. The HC rejected his appeal on the grounds that a minor is incapable of thinking rationally and in both civil law and criminal law; the consent of a minor is not treated as valid.

There can be no argument with the judgment per se, but it shows once again that there is confusion in the minds of judges regarding the age of consent in India. As the judge said “consent given by a girl who is less than 16 years of age,” would she have acquitted the appellant if the girl was above 16 years? If so, that would have been against the law as the age of consent in India is 18 years according to all laws. So why is there confusion on this issue? The POCSO Act has 18 as the age of consent and any one engaging in sex with a person below that age even with express consent of the minor is liable to be punished. In the past too, designated POCSO judges have allowed relief to accused when it was found that 15 year olds had consensual sex with them. There was debate in Parliament during the passage of the POCSO bill where despite several arguments against it, the age of consent was kept at 18. The judiciary should take this into consideration and adhere to both the letter and the spirit of the law.