The Madras High Court has been putting out verdicts that have made history when it comes to sex and sexuality. First, they gave out a verdict that says Trans women will also be considered brides under the Hindu Marriage Act. Then they banned sex reassignment surgery on intersex infants. And now the court recognizes teenage relationships and consensual sex!
This Friday, the Madras High Court observed that anyone above the age of 16 should not be considered as a minor if he or she is consenting to sex!
“Any consensual sex after the age of 16 or bodily contact or allied acts could be excluded from the rigorous provisions of the POCSO Act and sexual assault could be tried under more liberal provisions which can be introduced in the Act, differentiating sexual assault and teenage relationships,” Observed Justice V Parthiban.
Until now, sexual relations with a person below the age of 18 would constitute a statutory sexual offense under the POCSO Act. So even if the person is indulging in consensual sex, they would be jailed for 7-10 years!
In June 2018, the grandparents of a girl filed a case against a boy whom she eloped with. The Fast Track Mahila Court in Namakkal had said, “In cases where the age of the girl is below 18 years, even though she is capable of giving consent, being mentally matured, unfortunately, the provisions of POCSO Act get attracted if such a relationship transcends beyond platonic limits, catching up with the so-called offender of sexual assault warranting a severe imprisonment of 7/10 years.”
Therefore, the Judge opined that” on a profound consideration of the ground realities, the definition of ‘Child’ can be redefined as 16 instead of 18,”
While the grandparents of the girl claimed that the guy had abducted her, During the trial, a number of witnesses, including the girl turned hostile and told the court that she decided to elope with the guy on her free will. Indians are maturing at a very young age and are indulging in sexual activities more casually. And in a country where a lot of people have “underage” sex, a change in the law that criminalizes it is much required!