'Rasing age bar for consensual sex undemocratic'
A city court has said the proposed law that raises the age of consent for sex from 16 to 18 years would be undemocratic and a backward step and would also give a tool to police to harass teenagers.
This is a second case in which a Delhi court has raised its concerns over the proposed law by the central government. Earlier Additional Session Judge Kamini Lau had raised concerns in another case.
'In my opinion, the raise in age limit for sex by consent to 18 years would not only be undemocratic and regressive but also a step in the backward direction,' said Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat adding that 'such a move would open floodgates for prosecution of the boys for offence of rape, on the basis of complaints by the parents of the girl, no matter the girl would have been the consenting party and the offer to have sexual intercourse may have come from her side.'
ASJ Bhat, however, said that the court was not in favour of sex among teenagers and shared the concern of the parents of young children and the government, aimed at keeping them away from sexual activities.
'Raising the age limit, however, is not the solution to the problem and would serve no purpose except giving a tool to the police to harass the minor children,' it said.
ASJ Bhat made these observations while acquitting one Sandeep Paswan, a native of Uttar Pradesh, charged with kidnapping and raping a minor girl, who had eloped with him and married at Arya Samaj Mandir in Lucknow.
As per the police, the 15-year-old girl had gone missing from her house at Kapashera in January 2011. Her parents searched her but could not find her and then her father reported the matter to the police on 17 February 2011 and an FIR was registered. The girl was recovered in August 2011 from a village in Uttar Pradesh where she was residing with accused Sandeep as his wife after their marriage. The court while freeing Sandeep, who was facing trial for kidnapping and raping the girl said, it was clear from her testimony that she eloped with him as they were in deep love.
The judge, in his judgement, added that he himself has experienced that with the advent of cable television, Internet and rapid changes in biological factors, children get exposed to knowledge about sex and marital relations at an early age.
'With the result, cupid strikes them at an early age, before they attain majority and they dream of tying the nuptial knot with the person of opposite sex. Since parents are always opposed to such an alliance, may be rightly so, the loving couple elope and solemnise runaway marriage without the consent of their parents,' the court said, adding after which the parents lodge a missing report about their child with the police.