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Police Filing POCSO Cases At Behest Of Minor Girl's Family Who Oppose Her Romantic Relationship A 'Trite & Unfortunate Practice': Delhi High Court

Nupur Thapliyal
9 Oct 2021 10:15 AM GMT
Police Filing POCSO Cases At Behest Of Minor Girls Family Who Oppose Her Romantic Relationship A Trite & Unfortunate Practice: Delhi High Court
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The Delhi High Court recently expressed concern of the "unfortunate practice" of police filing POCSO cases at the behest of girl's family who object to her romantic involvement and friendship with young boys."Consensual sex has been in legal grey area because the consent given by minor cannot be said to be a valid consent in the eyes of law...The rigor of the law is therefore being misapplied...

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The Delhi High Court recently expressed concern of the "unfortunate practice" of police filing POCSO cases at the behest of girl's family who object to her romantic involvement and friendship with young boys.

"Consensual sex has been in legal grey area because the consent given by minor cannot be said to be a valid consent in the eyes of law...The rigor of the law is therefore being misapplied and subsequently misused," observed Justice Subramonium Prasad while granting bail to a 21 year old man accused in the case.

The Court observed that the accused being a young man and having a full life ahead of him, cannot be deprived of his liberties.

"The short question which arises is as to whether the petitioner should be granted bail or not. Whereas, what has become a trite and unfortunate practice is that the Police are filing POCSO cases at the behest of the family of a girl who object to her friendship and romantic involvement with a young boy," the Court said.

An FIR was registered against the man last year under Sections 376, 313, 328, 506 of IPC read with sec. 6 POCSO Act. According to the complainant, a girl aged 16 years, the man had stalked her while she would go to school and expressed his intention to make friends with her but she resisted. 

It was thereafter alleged that one day, the man forcefully took her to his house where she was raped. Later, it was found that she was pregnant by 7-8 weeks. 

It was the case of the Petitioner-accused that the Complainant girl was coerced by her family members to file the FIR and that the family was motivated by the support of an NGO. It was also argued that the family objected to their consenting friendship.

"This Court has also perused the photographs which has been produced wherein the petitioner and the prosecutrix found are to be shown in very close proximity and it is apparent that they were in a relationship with each other," the Court observed at the outset after considering the statements on record.

Accordingly the Court opined that the age of the man and girl, the photograph categorically pointing towards a relationship between the two, the discrepancies in the statements given at the time of the recordings of the MLC and the FIR were all mitigating factors which tilt the balance towards the grant of bail.

"It appears, in the facts and circumstances of this case, as if the present FIR has been lodged at the insistence of the family of the victim/complainant who were perhaps embarrassed on finding that the complainant had become pregnant and if this was known in the neighborhood there would be a social backlash that the family would encounter and, in order to avoid the social embarrassment and to get the pregnancy medically terminated this FIR has been filed giving it the color of sexual exploitation and bringing it in the ambit of the POCSO Act which envisages the abolition of child abuse," the Court said.

The bail was accordingly granted to the petitioner after observing thus:

"The petitioner has been in jail for over 12 months and is being subjected to be in the company of hardened criminals. This would do more harm than good to a common man of 21 years of age."

Case Title: PRADUMAN v. THE STATE (GOVT. OF NCT OF DELHI) & ANR

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