POCSO Act | Courts Persuaded To Save Lives Of Accused Where Children About To Attain Majority Commit Offence In Love: Delhi High Court

Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

The Delhi High Court has recently observed that Courts are persuaded to save lives of an accused, rather than to make him undergo trial and punishment, in cases where children, who are about to attain the age of majority, commit acts in the name of love amounting to offence under various enactments, including POCSO Act. Justice Navin Chawla said that such a situation makes Courts face with two consequences, either to go strictly by law, convict the boy and impose punishment on him, which is severe in the statutes, or to exercise its power to protect the innocent children or adult by quashing criminal proceedings.

When faced with such a dilemma, the court said that the power under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. is exercised to quash criminal proceedings where it is found that the girl was nearing the age of majority, had gone with the boy of her own free will, is happily living with the boy after attaining the age of majority.

“Of late, however, the Courts are faced with petitions where children, who are about to attain the age of majority, in ignorance of the statutory prohibitions and restrictions and consequences, in the name of love, commit acts which would otherwise amount to offence under the provisions of the Child Marriage Act, POCSO Act, and the IPC. Though, being minor, their consent is immaterial, however, factually it is there,” the court said.

It added: “The Court, in such circumstances, is persuaded to save the lives of such an accused, rather than to make him undergo trial and eventual punishment, which would not only ruin innocent lives of the parties to such a relationship, but may be, also of the children that are born therefrom.”

Justice Chawla made the observations while quashing an FIR registered against a boy for the offences under Sections 363 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 6 of the POCSO Act and Section 3 of the Child Marriage Act.

The court allowed the plea moved by Sonu alias Sunil seeking quashing of the FIR. The case was registered in 2015 by the minor's father alleging that the accused, around 20 years old, had kidnapped his daughter.

In August 2015, the parties, got married. Their marriage certificate showed the age of the girl to be 19 years and that boy to be 21 years.

The complainant in his statement to the police acknowledged the relationship between him and the girl and stated that his daughter had married him of her own free will.

It was also said that the girl now she has two children, a boy aged about 4 years and a girl aged about 1 ½ year old from the wedlock.

The victim in her statement said that she had eloped with the accused on her own will, got married to him and that she was happily married.

The court noted that though the victim was a minor when she eloped with the accused and may be when they solemnized their marriage, she stated that she was happily living with him and two children were also born from the wedlock.

“In such a scenario, to continue to prosecute the petitioner would in fact be to punish the respondent no.3, who the law sees as a victim,” the court said.

The court also express its gratitude to the Amicus Curiae, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa, for his assistance.

Case Title: SONU @ SUNIL v. STATE OF NCT OF DELHI & ORS. ( 2024 Del HC)