Constitute committee to educate students about POCSO Act: Karnataka HC to Education Department 

The court said the aim and objective of the POCSO Act is to protect minor children from sexual exploitation 
Karnataka High Court | (Pic: Express)
Karnataka High Court | (Pic: Express)

The Karnataka High Court has recommended that teenage boys, especially in Class IX and above, be educated on the consequences of love affairs leading to charges of rape and sexual assault under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The principal secretary of the education department has been directed to constitute a committee to formulate suitable material to educate students and direct government and private schools to raise awareness and warn them about the consequences of violating the POCSO Act or IPC, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express.

Youngsters who elope with minor girls and are involved in physical relationships with them do not know the punishment they will face for violating the law, especially as the girls’ parents are bound to oppose such marriages and also file complaints. Lack of knowledge of the law is no excuse, the court said, as per TNIE. A division bench of Justice Suraj Govindaraj and Justice G Basavarajagave the orders to the education department.

The court said the aim and objective of the POCSO Act is to protect minor children from sexual exploitation. Even if a girl aged 16 or more gives her consent for sex, it would be an offence under the IPC and POCSO Act. Therefore, the Law Commission of India would have to rethink the age criteria, the court added, pointing out that it has come across several cases relating to minor girls above 16 years falling in love and having intercourse after eloping.  

The court explained that criminal law would be set in motion to prosecute the boy after he is traced, though both the boy and girl may be living in a different city when a complaint is lodged in such cases. The prosecution of a minor girl or boy, or a boy who has attained majority, causes harm and injury to both families, besides severe financial loss, the court observed, as per TNIE.

Often, the complaint is filed in the heat of the moment, and family members later turn hostile and do not support the prosecution, the court said.  The court passed the order while dismissing an appeal by Uttara Kannada police against acquittal of a boy who eloped with a minor girl, later married her in January 2017 and is living happily with their two children.

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