While acquitting a young accused of sexual assault charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act Friday, Madras High Court made two significant suggestions — that the age for the definition of a “child” be taken as 16 rather than 18, and that the Act account for the difference in age between the offender and the girl involved in consensual sex.
Age of consent
The definition of ‘Child’ under Section 2(d) of the POCSO Act can be redefined as 16 instead of 18. Any consensual sex after the age of 16 or bodily contact or allied acts can be excluded from the rigorous provisions of the POCSO Act and such sexual assault, if it is so defined can be tried under more liberal provision, which can be introduced in the Act itself and in order to distinguish the cases of teen age relationship after 16 years.
What did the court say on age gap?
The Act can be amended to the effect that the age of the offender ought not to be more than five years or so than the consensual victim girl of 16 years or more. So that the impressionable age of the victim girl cannot be taken advantage of by a person who is much older and crossed the age of presumable infatuation or innocence.
(Adapted from The Indian Express)