According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data from 2021, 51,863
cases were reported under the POCSO Act, of which many are still pending. The
purpose of POCSO is novel and vivid- to protect children of our country from all
sexual abuse, or any possibility of sexual abuse. It is an important act,
especially today when crimes against children are increasing.
Need Of POCSO ?
Crime against children is not a new occurrence. They had been happening since
way before and were punished under Indian penal code. But the code had its own
set of lacunaes
- Section 354- outraging the modesty of a WOMAN. this woman centric
section kept Children out of preview. In a supreme court judgment, where a
small girl was sexually harassed by her uncle, court gave the ruling that
she was too small to have any modesty. of course, the ruling was heavily
critiqued by many. And men are expressly excluded. In reality, all have
modesty. And have a right to protect it under article 21 of the
- Section 375 - RAPE- dealt with woman only. No male was covered.
- Section 377- now is unconstitutional, otherwise earlier it was the
section that punished any penetrative sexual act with a male child. But
again, PENETRATIon is the essential. Otherwise, the act of harassment would
Hence, clearly need for POCSO was there.
Recently, in various courts the matter relating to reducing the age of
consensual physical relation is under deliberation. The Karnataka high court-
had received the case where a minor couple had with consent entered into
physical relation but parents filed complaint against the minor boy. Similarly,
in Delhi high court- a minor-major couple faced the same consequence.
So what should be done ? Should the age of consensual sex be reduced? Or
should it remain same?
Well, the matter went to consideration - and several judges have expressed their
opinion. Our CJI D.Y. Chandrachud, is very clear with his opinion that he
favours reducing the age. But, Justice Ritu Raj in the 22nd law commission
report- clearly stated that age should not be reduced as it is against the
government's decision of increasing the marriage age.
While the reasoning behind Ritu Raj ji's decision is not very clear to me, I
still support her opinion that yes, AGE SHOULD NOT BE REDUCED, but for different
- Simple, reducing the age means reduced accountability on the part of
citizens- such that they will end up engaging more in such sexual
activities. This will directly result into increased cases of child
pregnancies given the fact how little sex education is imparted in our
- The stigma attached with child pregnancies is well known - what will
happen to the girl ? ofcourse, she would not be taken to good doctors in
proper hospitals, but to some desi quacks- this might result in increased
cases of child pregnancies death.
- There is a need to understand that a girl develops throughout her
teenage. Any sexual activity has a potential to cause her bodily harm. Thus,
it is a duty to protect her.
So what is the position of male/ boys in such situation?
- KARNATAKA HIGH COURT - here, the couple is minor. Both of them need same
level of protection and care from the society and law. So yes, no case
should be made against him. law protects all.
- Now Lets consider the Delhi high court's example - the guy was 23 years
old male. A MAJOR. Yet he entered into sexual relationship with a minor. So
despite the fact that the girl had consented to it, it was his duty to not
go further with it ( ignorance of law is no excuse afterall ). but even if
he was not aware of law, it is well understood that she is minor and her
body is not ready for such relationship. Also girls are usually gullible at
this age, and don't understand the real right and wrong and are mainly
driven by impulse. So yes, her partner- He needs to be hold accountable-
because he ignored his duty to protect her. EVERY MAJOR HAS A DUTY TO
PROTECT MINOR- WHATEVER BE THE RELATIONSHIP. ( same goes if the minor is boy
and major is a woman - then woman should be punished )
- Add exception in the POCSO act
- As already said in minor-major relationship- major should be held
accountable and must undergo so some level of community service atleast, if not punishment
- In minor couple cases - no punishment should be given, and both should
be protected by all means.
- Awareness - impart sex education properly to all - so they understand
their body more properly and act accordingly. A law for the same should
come- or can be included in national education policy.
Reducing age for consensual sex is something that is more appropriate in
countries like US. But in India, we are way more different that their country in
terms of society, and also in terms of ethics and culture.
Earlier people used to wait till marriage before establishing any such relation,
in today's era least we can do is wait till we attain full physical development
( for a good reason )
Any action of reducing age before complete awareness will result into problems
in society. So lets avoid them !