Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court ruled that the 2012 Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act does not intend to punish teenagers who fall in love.
The HC made the remarks while ordering the disposal of a POCSO Act case brought against a 16-year-old boy who eloped with a 16-year-old girl.
The Karnataka High Court decided to “bend the arc of justice” in favour of the boy accused of rape after learning about a settlement reached by the boy’s and the girl’s families and orders from other courts not to punish the teenagers in love.
A single judge of the HC ruled that, “The laudable object for which the POCSO Act was brought into effect cannot be forgotten, but that would not mean that it is meant to punish young children who would fall in love and commit such acts which would become punishable under the Act.”
The court “is not painting every incidence of sexual activity of any kind that would become illegal under the POCSO Act, with the same brush, but there are cases of the kind, like the one at hand, where the adolescents have engaged in such acts due to lack of knowledge of the legal repercussions,” Justice M. Nagaprasanna added as a caveat.
The father of a teenager approached the Karnataka High Court in 2021 to request the dismissal of a POCSO charge against the boy.