Re-think on age of consent for sex: Court to lawmakers

Lawmakers should re-think on the existing law regarding age of consent for sex keeping in mind the changing social attitudes, a Delhi court has said.

New Delhi: Lawmakers should "re-think" on the existing law regarding "age of consent" for sex keeping in mind the changing "social attitudes", a Delhi court has said.

"It is time for the legislators to have a re-think regarding existing law by creating certain exceptions and of making allowances regarding the age of the consent/protection keeping in view the changing social attitudes and social sensibilities," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.

The court made the observation while acquitting a youth, facing trial for kidnapping and abducting a young girl here in October 2008 with an intention to compel her to marry him.

The court said both the girl and the accused were in love and had eloped due to opposition by their families but now both of them are residing separately and happily married.

"The legal system in our country cannot be used to punish youngsters in love who are at the verge of attending majority and this court cannot ruin their lives by taking a hyper- technical view especially so when the age gap between these youngsters is within acceptable limits and does not reflect an exploitative coercive situation," the court said.

"In the present case, both the girl and boy being happily married, the matter is now required to be finally rested and under no circumstances, the future of these youngsters can be destroyed by exposing them to their past," it said.

The court acquitted Ashok Vihar resident Krishan Rai Chaudhary who was accused of kidnapping a girl on October 20, 2008 with an intention to compel her to marry with him against her wishes. She, however, had been rescued on the same day, from Wazirpur Industrial Area here.

According to police, an FIR was registered on a complaint by the father of the girl who said that she used to work in `kothis` and on October 20, 2008 at 7 AM, she had gone to work but thereafter did not return home till evening.

He stated that he searched for his daughter in the locality but she could not be located and he expressed his suspicion upon Krishan Rai Chaudhary who was residing in the same locality and was also not present at his house.

During the trial, the father and mother of the girl said she was a minor when she was kidnapped and after seven months of the alleged incident, she was married to a Bihar-based man and they are now living happily.

The parents told the court that they have not informed the husband of their daughter about the incident and requested the court not to summon her as her matrimonial life would be ruined.

Ossification test of the girl was conducted and as per the medical record, she was of 18-19 years at the time of the alleged incident.

During the trial, the court did not recorded Chaudhary`s statement saying nothing incriminating has come against him.

The court noted that in cases where there is not much difference between age of the partners engaged in sexual act, allowances in the age of consent have been made worldwide.

"Many jurisdictions world over have made allowances regarding age of consent in cases where there is not much difference between the age of older partner and that of the minor engaged in the sexual act.

"The enforcement of this practice of the age of consent law varies at different places depending upon culture, social sensibilities and changing societal attitudes," it said.


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