Reduce age of consent for physical relationship from 18 to 16: Madhya Pradesh HC tells Centre
Gwalior/IBNS: The Gwalior Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has requested the Centre to reduce the age of consensual physical relations between a man and a woman from 18 years to 16 years.
The single-judge bench of Justice Deepak Kumar Agarwal made the remark on Tuesday while hearing a petition filed in connection with a rape case reported on July 17, 2020.
Justice Agarwal was hearing a petition filed by Rahul Chandel Jatav for quashing an FIR registered under relevant sections of the IPC, Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO), and the IT Act. A sessions trial was also pending in the case.
"This Court would like to share its experience as a Judge that before amendments in IPC under Section 375 of IPC regarding age of prosecutrix for the purpose of consent that was 16 years and subsequently enhanced by amendment up to 18 years due to this amendment, fabric of society has been disturbed. Nowadays, every male or female near the age of 14 years due to social media awareness and easily accessible internet connectivity is getting puberty at an early age," read the judgment.
"Owing to this, female and male children are getting attraction and these attractions are resulting in physical relationship with consent. In these cases, male persons are not at all criminal. It is only a matter of age when they come into contact with a female and develop physical relationships. Only due to this reason, lawmakers in IPC, when it came into force, put the age of female as 16 years since they were well aware of the aforesaid facts," it added.
The judgment further read, "Generally, girls and boys of adolescence develop friendship and thereafter, due to attraction make physical relationships. But, due to this rider, boy is treated like a criminal in the society. Today, most of the criminal cases, in which prosecutrix is under 18 years of age, due to aforesaid anomaly, injustice is going on with adolescent boys. Thus, I request the Government of India to think over the matter for reducing the age of prosecutrix from 18 to 16 years as earlier before amendments so that injustice should be redressed."