10 May 2023 4:17 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has said that “adolescent love” cannot be controlled by courts and judges have to be careful while rejecting or granting bail in such cases depending on facts and circumstances of each case. Observing that teenagers who “try to imitate romantic culture of films and novels” remain unaware about the laws and age of consent, Justice Sawarana Kanta Sharma...
The Delhi High Court has said that “adolescent love” cannot be controlled by courts and judges have to be careful while rejecting or granting bail in such cases depending on facts and circumstances of each case.
Observing that teenagers who “try to imitate romantic culture of films and novels” remain unaware about the laws and age of consent, Justice Sawarana Kanta Sharma said:
“This Court also observes that the attitude towards early love relationships, especially adolescent love, has to be scrutinised in the backdrop of their real life situations to understand their actions in a given situation.”
Taking note of the fact that innocent teenage boys and girls languish in jail or protection home in cases of teenage love, the court said that confinement in jail in such cases will cause distress and impact the psychological health of the accused.
The court made the observations while dealing with a bail plea of a 19-year-old boy in an FIR registered by the girl’s family under Sections 363 and 376 of Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
During investigation, the girl was found seven weeks pregnant and medical termination of pregnancy was conducted. The DNA report confirmed that the boy was the biological father of the child. The girl, who was also heard in the matter, told court that she was 18 years of age at the time of incident, although her school record did not support her claim.
Granting relief to the boy, the court noted that the girl has consistently stated in her statement under sections 161 and 164 of Cr.P.C. and in the testimony recorded in court that she had gone with the boy out of her own free will as she developed a liking for him.
Observing that the court cannot go into the question as to whether the girl was 16 or 18 years of age at the time of the incident, Justice Sharma said:
“This Court notes that the prosecutrix has been consistent in her statement under Section 161 and 164 Cr.P.C. as well as before the Court and supports the man she loves, blissfully unaware that the law in this country does not support such love stories. The main character i.e. the present accused is not a criminal, but was merely in love and at the instance of her lady love, being unaware of the nitty-gritties of law, had taken her to a place which was 2200 kms. away from Delhi to lead a peaceful life.”
The court observed that the criminal intent of any kind was completely missing as neither the girl nor the boy had switched off their mobile phones so that their location may not be available to the police or family.
“Though, the entire story reads like story of a romantic novel or a film about teenage love, in real life, this Court notes that it had two main characters in their teens who loved each other, supported each other and somehow wanted their relationship in marriage to be validated, and for that, the only idea that came to the mind of the prosecutrix was giving birth to a child from their union,” the court said.
It added that though consent of a minor may be of no value in the eyes of law, in the peculiar circumstances and facts of the case, it will not be prudent for a court to label the boy as an accused when there was no incriminating evidence against him on record.
“Therefore, this Court repeats that it is not laying down any law, but only notes with caution that in cases such as the present one, the Courts are not dealing with the criminals, but with two teenage individuals who wanted to live their life as they deemed fit being in love. The love of course did not understand or knew the bar of age of consent as the lovers only knew that they have right to love and lead life as they thought fit for themselves,” the court said.
Noting that the marriage of the girl and the boy is tentatively fixed for this month's end, Justice Sharma granted bail to the boy for two months from the date of his release.
“This Court, as a note of caution while granting bail in this case and making the above observations, clarifies that every case of such nature has to be adjudged on its own peculiar facts and circumstances, and the age being in shadow of doubt as well as the consistency in the statement of the prosecutrix and lack of inducement or threat in such cases has to be adjudicated on facts and circumstances of each case,” the court clarified.
Title: MAHESH KUMAR v. STATE (NCT OF DELHI)
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 386
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