Adolescent Love Cannot Be Controlled By Court, Judges Have To Be Careful While Rejecting Or Granting Bail In POCSO Cases: Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court has observed that teenage psychology and adolescent love cannot be controlled by the Courts and therefore the judges have to be careful while rejecting or granting bail in POCSO cases.
The bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma made this observation while granting bail to a young man against whom an FIR was registered under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The Counsel for the accused stated that the accused-applicant and the prosecutrix were in a relationship with each other and it was at the behest of the prosecutrix that they had run away from their home. Perusal of the statements of the prosecutrix revealed that in her statement under section 161 and 164 Cr.P.C. as well as her testimony recorded in the Court, she consistently stated that she had gone with the accused out of her own free will as she had developed a liking for him. It was also the case of the prosecutrix herself that she had given the idea of getting pregnant immediately so that in case they will be blessed with a child, her parents will not object to their relationship.
Advocate I.A. Siddiqui appeared for the accused whereas APP Satish Kumar appeared for the State.
The Court observed “Though, the entire story reads like story of a romantic novel or a film about teenage love, in real life, this Court notes that it had two main characters in their teens who loved each other, supported each other and somehow wanted their relationship in marriage to be validated, and for that, the only idea that came to the mind of the prosecutrix was giving birth to a child from their union.”
The Court further noted that “This Court remains aware that though consent of a minor may be of no value in the eyes of law, in the peculiar circumstances and facts of the present case, it will not be prudent for a Court to label the applicant herein as an accused, more so, since there is no incriminating evidence against him on record.”
The Court observed that in such cases of teenage love, the genuine innocent teenage boys and girls, being unaware of age of consent in law being 18 years languish in jail or in protection home which has negative impact on their future. The Court also noted that in such cases, confinement in jail will cause distress and will impact the psychological health of the accused also.
The Court observed that however it was bound by the law as it is and therefore, at this stage, in such circumstances can only direct that the accused be granted his freedom of bail.
Accordingly the Court granted bail to the accused.
Before parting with the case, the Court observed “This Court, as a note of caution while granting bail in this case and making the above observations, clarifies that every case of such nature has to be adjudged on its own peculiar facts and circumstances, and the age being in shadow of doubt as well as the consistency in the statement of the prosecutrix and lack of inducement or threat in such cases has to be adjudicated on facts and circumstances of each case.”
Cause Title- Mahesh Kumar v. State (NCT of Delhi) (Neutral Citation No. 2023:DHC:3151)