oppn parties Judiciary and Age of Consent

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  • MS Dhoni decides to take a two-month break, will skip West Indies tour but will not retire
  • Phagu Chauhan is the new Governor of Bihar while Ramesh Bais has been appointed as that of Tripura
  • Governors: Anandiben Patel shifted from Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh and Lalji Tandon from Bihar to Madhya Pradesh
  • Naga talks interlocutor RN Ravi appointed as Governor of Nagaland
  • Noted lawyer Jagdeep Dhankhar appointed as new Governor of West Bengal
  • 84 NDRF teams have been despatched to 23 states to tackle the flood situation
  • Three persons lynched in Bihar after being accused of cattle theft
  • Delhi police seize a consignment of 1500 kgs of heroin and busts a cartel of Afghanistan-Pakistan narcotics dealers with links to the Taliban
  • Supreme Court gives 9 more months to complete the Babri Masjid demolition case trial
  • Priyanka Gandhi not allowed to meet the families of the dead in the Sonabhadra firing, arrested
  • ICC inducts Sachin Tendulkar in [email protected]@@s Hall of Fame
  • Stock markets bleed for the second day. Sensex crashes 560 points
  • S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, says Pakistan should release and repatriate Kulbhushan Jadhav immediately
  • Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala asks the Speaker to hold the trust vote latest by 1.30 pm today
  • The Government sends a list of 24 questions to mobile app company that runs video app TikTok seeking answers for anti-national and obscene content carried on the platform
Former Delhi CM and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit dies following a cardiac arrest. She was 81
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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.