“Punishing Young Boy For Relationship With Minor Girl Not The Objective Of POCSO Act,” Says Meghalaya HC
I feel the Indian daily soap Balika Vadhu put the spotlight on the whole underage marriage concept in India and there was a general awareness about the ill effects of the same because of the show. Recently, the Meghalaya High Court requested the state government to conduct awareness programmes shedding light on the what are the dangerous effects of underage marriage so that they do not clash with already provisions of the law in the state.
As per a report by Live Law, Justice W Diengdoh headed the bench and ordered this with regard to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) case, as it was brought to light that the victim was living with her partner as husband and wife and they also had a baby. The case was such that the minor girl had come to the hospital for a check-up and when the doctors came to know that she is a minor, they called the police. When enquired, it was learnt that she the girl was 17 years and 9 months old but turned 18 years old 18 days after her pregnancy.
The investigation also revealed that the girl’s husband was one of the petitioners (petitioner 1) in the case whereas the girl (petitioner2) herself and her mother did not want to file any complaint against him because he was living with her as her husband. A case has also been filed against petitioner 1 under the POCSO case. The case currently stands at the consideration stage and is charged by the Special Judge in Shillong. The girl and the accused have moved to High Court seeking withdrawal of the FIR and complaints filed against them.
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In their judgement, the court said that punishing a minor boy for having a relationship with a minor girl was never the objective of the POCSO. The bench also said that such cases do not need to be treated with harshness and also asked for necessary amendments to be brought in under the act.