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KERALA HC CALLS FOR POCSO ACT AWARENESS AMONG KIDS

Team SoOLEGAL 14 Jun 2022 3:56pm

Image courtesy: SoOlegal KERALA HC CALLS FOR POCSO ACT AWARENESS AMONG KIDS

New Delhi: The Kerala High Court has expressed concern that teenagers who engage in sexual activities in schools are unaware of the severe consequences that the POCSO Act will entail.

While deciding on a bail application, Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas' single-judge bench emphasized the importance of raising awareness among teenagers because the current system does not distinguish between the conservative description of rape and sexual interactions arising from pure affection and biological changes.

"The statutes do not contemplate the biological inquisitiveness of adolescence and treat all 'intrusions' on bodily autonomy, whether by consent or otherwise, as rape for the certain age group of victims"

The Court noted that the amendments to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the enactment of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, envisage very serious repercussions for such offensive acts, but that teenagers and adolescents engage in sexual relationships regardless of the consequences.

"By the time they realize the consequences, it would be too late in the day. A meaningful life could practically be snuffed out by an immature or negligent act arising out of human curiosity or biological cravings, which Psychologists regard as natural. However, the statutory diktat, on the scope and purport of the terms sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and penetrative sexual assault apart from minimum punishments are most often, unknown to the students and youths."

The real purpose of the amendments to Section 376 IPC and the enactment of the POCSO Act are manifold, as the resplendent legal maxim 'ignorantia juris non excusat'.

"Punishment of the offender is only one while prevention is another. The latter purpose will be achieved only if consciousness and awareness of its provisions are created in the schools themselves. The curriculum must of necessity prescribe sessions/classes on the provisions of the POCSO Act as well as the amendments brought into section 376 of IPC. The educational machinery of the State has fallen woefully short in imparting the required awareness to the young children about the heinous crimes and their consequences."

In light of the foregoing, the Court determined that it is essential to ascertain the various methods for raising awareness.

The Court used its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to suo moto impleaded the three parties as additional respondents to the bail application with the intent of issuing directions to allow the State Government to come up with recommendations for imparting the aforementioned awareness in schools.



Tagged: POCSO Act   Kerala HC  
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