Age Of Puberty As Per Muslim Law Not Applicable To POCSO Act- Delhi HC Refuses To Quash FIR For Rape Of 16 Year Old
The Delhi High Court has refused to quash an FIR and Charge Sheet registered under Sections 376, 406, 377 and 506 of the IPC, Section 6 of the POCSO Act and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act for rape of a girl child aged 16 years and 5 months.
The Accused Imran visited the house of the victim and requested the parents of the victim for marriage with the victim. The parents of the victim agreed on the condition that the marriage will only take place when the victim clears her Class XII. The father of the girl have money and valuables to the Accused as dowry, but after the engagement, the Accused had physical relationship with the victim thereafter refused to get married to the victim and abused the victim as well as her parents.
Advocate Nasir Ahmed appeared for the accused while Rajesh Mahajan, ASC appeared for the state.
The Accused contended that he has never refused to marry the victim and even today is ready and willing to marry the victim. However, the parents of the victim who were present in the Court said that they are not interested in getting the victim married to the Accused. The Accused also contended that he has returned the money given to him by the victim's father.
The Accused contended that "the provisions of Section 6 of POCSO Act is not applicable to the present case, as according to Muslim Personal Law, the victim is a major as she has attained puberty".
The prosecution countered the argument by saying that "Section 6 POCSO Act is not religious specific but age specific. The aim of the POCSO Act is to prevent children from sexual crimes. It is the age which is important and admittedly in the present case the victim was less than 18 years of age".
After hearing the parties, Justice Jasmeet Singh held that "I am in agreement with Mr Mahajan that POCSO is an Act for protection of children below 18 years of age from sexual abuse and exploitation. It is not customary law specific but the aim of the Act is to protect children below the age of 18 years from sexual abuse. The statement of object of the POCSO Act states that the Act is aimed to secure the tender age of the children and ensure they are not abused and their childhood and youth is protected against exploitation".
"For the reasons above, I reject the contention of the petitioner that according to Muslim law since the victim has attained the age of puberty the rigours of POCSO Act will not be applicable", the Court held while dismissing the petition.