Pocso Act should not be used in cases of teenage romance: Allahabad HC | Allahabad News – Times of India

PRAYAGRAJ: Observing that Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (Pocso) Act not intended for teenagers’ romantic affairsthe Allahabad high court granted bail to a Pocso accused youth, who ran away with a 14-year-old girl and got married with her in a temple. The youth, who was a minor then, remained in company with the girl for almost two years during which the girl gave birth to a child. The boys is a Brahmin while the girl is a Dalit,
Allowing the bail application of one Atul Mishra, Justice Rahul Chaturvedi observed, “Growing incidences where teenagers and young adults fall victim of the offenses under the Pocso Actand being slapped by the penal provisions of the Act without understanding the far-reaching implication of the severity of the enactment, is an issue that brings much concern to the conscience of this court.”
“A reading of the statement of objects and reasons of Pocso Act would show that, as mentioned, to protect the child from the offenses of sexual abuse, sexual assault and harassment, pornography, pursuant to the Article-15 of the Constitution of India, 1950 and the conservation on the rights of the children. However, a large array of the cases filed under the Act seems to be those arising on the basis of the complaints/FIRs lodged by the families of adolescents and teenagers who are involved in romantic relationships with each other. The scheme of the Act clearly shows that it did not intend to bring within its scope or limits, the cases of the nature where the adolescents or teenagers are involved in the dense romantic affair”.
While granting bail to the applicant, the court in its order dated January 25 said, “No doubt consent of minor girl has got no value in the eyes of law, but in the present scenario where the girl has given birth to a baby from the applicant and in her statement before the court, she has declined to go with her parent and from last four to five months residing at Rajkiya Balgrih (Balika) Khuldabad, Prayagraj in most inhuman condition with her infant baby, this by itself is pathetic and would amount to adding to her miseries”.
While directing the in charge of Rajkiya Balgrih (Balika), Khuldabad, Prayagraj, to release the victim girl with her baby forthwith, the court also remarked that it would be extremely harsh and inhuman to devoid the baby from parental love and affection on account of the fact that both the accused and minor victim loved each other and decided to get married.
Both the applicant and the girl, who were in their teens and college going met in the school during NCC parade, developed a natural inclination towards each other, thereafter cutting across the caste barrier between them decided to marry with each other.
In November 2019, the father of the minor girl lodged an FIR against the accused applicant, Atul Mishra, at police station Khaga in Fatehpur district with the specific allegation that his minor daughter was enticed away by him. He was later booked u/s 366 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and also under Pocso Act, and SC/ST Act.
Mishra was behind the bars in connection with aforesaid offense since October 4, 2021 and seeking bail during trial, whereas the victim was languishing at Government Child Welfare Home (Girls), Khuldabad, Prayagraj along with her infant baby since then.