Justice Anuja Prabhudessai of Bombay High Court, while granting bail to a 22-year-old who is accused of kidnapping and raping of a minor, said that the Protection of Children of From Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) has been enacted to protect children’s from sexual assault and sexual harassment, not to punish minors in romantic or consensual relationship and brand them as criminals.
“It needs to be noted that the POCSO Act has been enacted to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment etc., and contains stringent penal provisions as to safe guard the interest and the well being of the children. The object is certainly not to punish minors in romantic or consensual relationship and brand them as criminals”.
The bench noted that the victim’s mother in her statement indicated that the relationship between the boy and girl was consensual.
It was alleged that the First Information Report (FIR) was registered by the mother of the girl (victim) who hadn’t returned home. When the victim was traced, she revealed in her statement that she stayed with her friend for two-three days. Since she left home without informing parents, she was scared to return home. And while she was sleeping one of the nights, the accused asked her to come to terrace of an SRA building and had forcible intercourse with her.
“The Applicant is in custody since 17/02/2021. The trial has not yet commenced and considering the large pendency, the trial is not likely to commence in immediate future. Detaining the Applicant further will bring him in association with hardened criminals which will also be detrimental to his interest”.
The bench noted that the accused was in custody, since one year and thus granted him bail on giving certain conditions to him.