oppn parties Judiciary and Age of Consent

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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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.