The Gujarat High Court has shed light on the crimes committed by minor boys under the POCSO Act, 2012. The Court expressed concern for highlighting the need for legal awareness. This is in the context of preventing serious crimes by a minor against another.
Brief Facts and Procedural History
A minor girl had eloped with a minor boy in January 2020. The petitioner registered the First Information Report at Kheralu Camp Police Station, Vadnagar. The FIR asserted the abduction of a minor girl by the boy. Hence, it attracts the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
The petitioner, a father of the minor girl, filed a habeas corpus petition at Gujarat HC. On 04.03.2020, the Court handed over the investigation to the Deputy Superintendent of Police. Subsequently, the Court directed the executive to produce the minor girl for initiating proceedings. Consequently, the officials publicized the non-availability of the corpus. However, the investigation team traced the corpus to the relatives of the boy. Yet, the minor offender is still absconding. Furthermore, the Court presented the corpus before the Court on 29.06.2020.
The corpus stated that the parents of the girl tried to engage her elsewhere. This is supposedly done to prevent her willful matrimony. The minor girl has neither completed her high school nor is keen to pursue studies. Moreover, the minor girl has shown her disinclination to join her parents. Although there is no relevance to the minor’s will, she cannot be forced against her will. The Court, as a result, directed her 8-week stay at Women Protection Home, Patan.
The Court made an observation for the punitive element in the present matter. It opined that though he is a minor, he chose to take away the minor corpus. This has knitted him in the net of law, particularly the POCSO Act. The main goal of the Act is to protect and prevent serious offenses against the girl child. The offenders under the said Act are subjected to rigorous punishment. The Court observed an increasing number of young boys contributing to the list of offenders. Further, the Court observed that this aspect is present in numerous contemporary petitions of habeas corpus.
The Court asserted- “We also notice that young boys who themselves are not major, without realizing the consequences of their actions, or actuated by the frenzy of youth, with a careless approach towards stringent laws label themselves as offenders in the matters of POCSO, and face serious consequences of rigorous punishment prescribed under the law.”
Therefore, the right understanding must be provided in the form of legal awareness. This may prevent crimes committed by children due to their lack of inferring laws.
Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice N. Anjaria have pronounced the order. They shall take up the matter on 25.08.2020.
The Court has ordered physical, mental, and emotional care for the girl child. The Superintendent has to ensure her safety at the Women Protection Home. The superintendent has to also ensure proper counseling sessions for the girls. Moreover, the Superintendent is ordered to collaborate with the Anti Human Trafficking cell and the District Legal Services Authority. The alliance shall take up the task of creating awareness amongst the youngsters.
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