Pocso not intended for teen romance, says Allahabad high court | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Pocso not intended for teen romance, says Allahabad high court

ByJitendra Sarin, Hindustan Times, Prayagraj
Feb 18, 2022 03:02 AM IST

While directing the in charge of Rajkiya Balgrih (Balika), Khuldabad, Prayagraj to release the victim girl with her baby, 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.

The Allahabad high court on Thursday granted bail to a man accused under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act for impregnating a 14-year-old girl, saying that the law didn’t intend to bring cases of romantic affairs between teenagers under its aegis.

Allahabad high court said the scheme of the Pocso 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 involved in the dense romantic affair. (HT File)
Allahabad high court said the scheme of the Pocso 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 involved in the dense romantic affair. (HT File)

The couple, originally from Fatehpur, eloped to Lucknow and later to Delhi in November 2019 and got married at a temple. They remained together for two years, during which the girl gave birth to a child. On October 3, 2021, the man was arrested while the girl was sent to Rajkiya Balgrih (Balika), Khuldabad, Prayagraj, a child welfare centre.

Allowing the bail application of one Atul Mishra, justice Rahul Chaturvedi observed, “Growing incidences where teenagers and young adults fall victim of the offences under the POCSO Act, being slapped by the penal provisions of POCSO 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 offences 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 POCSO 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 a romantic relationship with each other,” the court added.

“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 involved in the dense romantic affair,” the court observed.

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 parents 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, 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 the NCC parade.

In November 2019, the father of the minor girl lodged an FIR against the accused applicant - Atul Mishra at the police station- Khaga at Fatehpur district with the specific allegation that his minor daughter was enticed away by him. He was later on booked under sections 366 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and also under the POCSO Act, and SC/ST Act.

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