Plea before SC sought for compounding of POCSO offences in cases where teenage relationships exist
Through a Special Leave Petition, the petitioner has raised an issue wherein an adolescent boy, who is in a relationship with a girl below the age of 18 years of age, could be held punishable for the offence of sexual assault under the POCSO Act.
The plea stated that incidents like entering into a consensual relationship could not be viewed from the perspective of strict provisions mentioned under the POCSO Act.
This petition had been filed against the order of Madras High Court which, in the case of Maruthupandi v State, held that if a girl enters into a consensual relationship with a boy out of love and affection, the boy would then be subjected to the provisions of POCSO Act.
In the abovementioned case, the accused filed an application for the compounding of offence. However, the same was repudiated by the Madras HC on the ground that offences under POCSO Act cannot be compounded.
The accused moved in this application in order to take additional evidence from victim in order to establish that they indeed had been in a consensual relationship for the past four years. However, the application was dismissed by the High Court.
The petitioner stated that at the time of alleged offence, accused and victim both were of 17 years of age and there was no sexual assault or violence involved. Moreover, he submitted that it was more of a love affair going sour.
The petitioner stated that the dismissal of application is against the order reiterated in the case of Vijaylakshmi & Anr. v State, wherein the facts were same and the court stated that the objective of POCSO was never to treat an adolescent boy as an offender just because he was in a relationship with a minor girl.
Hence, the instant SLP has been filed before the Supreme Court of India in view of acceptance of dismissed application.