Nobel prize winner Kailash Satyarthi’s NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan wanted the Supreme Court to clear the conflict between the IPC - which terms children as those aged under 15 years - and POCSO - which terms children as those aged under 18.
A bench headed by the newly sworn in Chief Justice J S Khehar today directed the government to examine a "conflict" between the provisions of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and check if the anomaly is justified.
Defining ‘children’ as those aged below 18, the POCSO specifies that sexual assault below children 18 years amounts to rape.
But as far as the IPC is concerned, under an exception to section 375, a man is not guilty if he has sexual intercourse with his ‘wife’ if she is more than 15 years old. This, when child marriage continues to be illegal under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
Nobel prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, through his organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), appealed to the Supreme Court for help to end this "statutorily-backed" crime against children. BBA wanted that sexual intercourse with any child below the age of 18 should amount to rape and the anomaly brought in by the Indian Penal Code shall not come in the way.
Satyarthi basically wanted the apex court to clear the conflict between the IPC - which terms children as those aged under 15 years - and POCSO - which terms children as those aged under 18.
The apex court has directed the government to address the issue within four months. If not satisfied with the government's response, the Bench asked Satyarthi to approach the Supreme Court on the same grounds for immediate resolution.
In September, 2016 Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has referred the issue of contradictions, controversies and conflict between various legislation, which touch upon the constitutional validity of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to a Division Bench
Read the petition here.
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