The Supreme Court, while deciding a criminal appeal, took suo motu cognisance of the contentious order, strongly disagreeing with the broad observations made by the Calcutta High Court that teenage girls should suppress their sexual urges rather than give in to two minutes of pleasure. The court stated that judges should make decisions based on the law and facts, not on their opinions during court proceedings.
A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal questioned the High Court’s observation and the legality of its decision to clear an accused, who had been charged under the Pocso Act and the IPC, given that the High Court had not provided a justification for the accused’s acquittal.
“In an appeal against conviction, the HC was called upon to decide only the merits of the appeal and nothing else. Prima facie, we are of the view that, in such a case, the Hon’ble judges are not expected to either express their personal views or preach. After having carefully perused the judgment, we find that many parts thereof, including para 30.3, are highly objectionable and completely unwarranted, The said observations are completely in violation of rights of adolescents under Article 21 of the Constitution.,” read the bench’s statement, which was published in The Times of India.
The HC judgment passed on October 18, quoted by TOI, read , “It is the duty/obligation of every female adolescent to: protect her right to integrity of her body; protect her dignity and self-worth; thrive for overall development of her self-transcending gender barriers; control sexual urge/urges as in the eyes of the society she is the loser when she gives in to enjoy the sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes; protect her right to autonomy of her body and her privacy.”
Further, it said, “We do not want our adolescents to do anything that shall push them from the dark to the darker side of life. It is normal for each adolescent to seek the company of the opposite sex, but it is not normal for them to engage in sex devoid of any commitment and dedication. Sex shall come automatically come them when they grow self-reliant, economically independent and a person which they dreamt one day to be, it concluded.”
The bench stated that it carefully read the order and that the observation was initially uncalled for before passing it. He stated that there was no justification for making those comments because the matter at hand before the HC concerned the validity of the trial court’s decision to find the accused guilty in accordance with Sections 6 of the Pocso and 363 and 366 of the Indian Penal Code.