14-year-old girl said she had physical relations with me: POCSO case filed against the boy

Christian Marriage Act in India: In 2017, a man reported his 14-year-old daughter missing in Delhi. After which the girl herself reached the police. She said that she is in love with a boy and lives with him of her own free will. The girl told that both want to get married and have also ...
 

Christian Marriage Act in India: In 2017, a man reported his 14-year-old daughter missing in Delhi. After which the girl herself reached the police. She said that she is in love with a boy and lives with him of her own free will. The girl told that both want to get married and have also made physical relations many times.

Hearing this, the police have registered a case against the accused under the POCSO Act. When the matter reached the court, the trial court acquitted the accused stating that the relationship between the two was consensual. Delhi Police had approached the High Court against this decision. Now in this case, the High Court has framed charges against the boy under the POCSO Act. But she also stresses that cases of minor boys and girls falling in love, running away from home, cohabitation and consensual sex should be handled differently, but courts are tied because of the POCSO Act. Has happened.

From the Chief Justice to several courts in the country, concerns have been expressed over the action under POCSO in consensual relations between minors. A child rights expert and Delhi High Court advocate says such issues are caught between multiple laws. There is no coordination between these laws on serious issues ranging from the age of marriage to sexual relations and rape.

These 9 laws are intertwined

1- POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses) Act
According to the Act, boys and girls below the age of 18 years are minors and it is an offense to have physical relations between them, even if they have consensual relations.

2- Age of consent
The legal age of consent under the Indian Penal Code is 18 years. Sex with a girl under this age is rape, even if the girl consents to sex.

3- Child Marriage Prohibition Act
A boy is considered a child in the eyes of the law until he attains the age of 21 years (completing 21st and 22nd years) and 18 years (completing 18th and 19th years) for a girl.

4- Exception-2 IPC Section 375
Section 375 of IPC deals with rape. According to Exception-2 of this section, having sex with a wife who is above 15 years of age is not rape.

5- Hindu Marriage Act, Christian Marriage Act and Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act
Under these laws, a boy can marry only after completing 21 years and a girl not before completing 18 years.

6- In the Special Marriage Act
For couples of different religions, the age of the boy should be at least 21 years and the age of the girl should be 18 years. But, if an already married couple wants to register their marriage under this act then the girl along with the boy should be of 21 years of age.

7- Muslim Personal Law
The law does not specify the age of boys and girls. But the girl can be married at the age of 14-15 after puberty i.e. after the start of periods.

8- Juvenile Justice Act
According to this act, children below the age of 18 years are minors. However, a juvenile between the ages of 16 and 18 who commits a very serious crime may also be considered an adult.

9- Child Marriage Prohibition (Amendment) Bill, 2021
The government had introduced this bill in the Lok Sabha in 2021 to increase the age of marriage from 18 to 21 years for girls of all religions. The Bill is currently with the Standing Committee of Parliament.

Sometimes these laws cross each other’s limits, sometimes they complicate the matter and sometimes they become a means of relief.

Marriage at the age of 15 is legal in one law, it is a crime in two laws
According to Sharia law, a girl can be married after attaining puberty at the age of 14-15 and the husband can also have a relationship. However, marrying in any other religion at this age is a violation of the POCSO Act and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

Flaw in rape law: ban on poxo and child marriage
Violation of section 375 of IPC is rape according to section 375 of IPC. But, according to Exception-2 of 375, relation with wife of more than 15 years of age is not rape. While this is a violation of the POCSO Act and Child Marriage Prohibition Act.

Even the Supreme Court is not clear about the exception to Article 375.

The Supreme Court has also given different judgments on exceptions to Article 375. In 2017, the court said that having a relationship with a wife below the age of 18 would be considered rape.

But in another case, the Kerala High Court convicted a husband who had sex with a minor wife, In the same case, the Supreme Court based on an exception to Article 375 held that when the relationship between the husband and wife was too The wife was more than 15 years old, so the husband was acquitted.

The legal age of a child in India is between 18 and 21 years.

In the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, boys up to 21 years and girls up to 18 years are called minors. All citizens up to 18 years of age are children under the POCSO Act.
Under the Juvenile Justice Act, juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 who have committed serious offenses are also considered as adults. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has also expressed concern over the inclusion of consensual romantic relationships between minors under the purview of the ‘Poxo Act’. Earlier, former judges including the Delhi High Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court and Madras High Court have unanimously suggested lowering the age of sex to 16 years.

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