Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court has said that the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was never intended to criminalise consensual romantic relationships between adolescents.
The court observed that the Act was formulated to protect children under the age of eighteen years from sexual exploitation.
In its observation, the court said that the POCSO Act has nowadays become a tool of exploitation of adolescents and stressed that the fact of consensual relationship borne out of love should be of consideration while granting bail in such cases.
It further said that it would amount to the perversity of justice if the statement of the victim in such cases is ignored, and the accused is left to suffer behind jail.
The observations were pronounced by Justice Krishan Pahal while granting bail to one Mrigraj Gautam a.k.a. Rippu.
“POCSO was formulated to protect children under the age of 18 years from sexual exploitation. Nowadays, more often than not, it has become a tool for their exploitation. This Act was never meant to criminalise consensual romantic relationships between adolescents,” the court said.
The applicant was booked under the sections 363 (kidnapping), 366 (abduction of a woman with intent to compel her to marry any person) IPC and POCSO Act for allegedly enticing away a 15-year-old girl on May 13 this year.
An FIR was lodged against him at Ata police station of Jalaun.