Amid rising concerns pertaining to cases of mutually consenting ‘romantic relationships’ falling under the purview of the POCSO Act, the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud opined that the legislature should consider growing concerns relating to the age of consent under the 2012 Act, which is 18 years.
The CJI was delivering the keynote address at the inaugural two-day Session of the National Stakeholders Consultation on the POCSO Act being organized by the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice, in association with UNICEF.
He said, “In my time as a judge, I have observed that this category of cases poses difficult questions for judges across the spectrum. There is a growing concern surrounding this issue which must be considered by the legislature in view of reliable research by experts in adolescent healthcare.”
The POCSO Act criminalizes all sexual activities for those under the age of 18 even if consent is present between two minors engaged in sexual activity because the law presumes that consent given by minors (below the age of 18) is no consent at all.
The remark from CJI Chandrachud comes in the backdrop of the recent observation of the Madras High Court wherein it said that the Court is “eagerly” waiting for an amendment in the law to appropriately deal with cases involving relationships of adolescents.