Observation given by the court(Consequences under POCSO Act):
- While showing concerns on alarming rise in the number of sexual offences against the school children, Court described that in most of the cases the main offenders of such crimes are young age persons and such act is a result of relationships that are beyond the pure love and affection.
- Court said the young age children irrespective of gender indulge in sexual relationships or activities without knowing the drastic consequences of their acts is waiting for them. While considering the enactment of the POCSO Act and amendments in IPC, and the punishments mentioned in these statutes for such offensive acts, court said that unfortunately both these statutes does not distinguish between the conservative concept of term “rape” and sexual relationship or interaction which is arising out of love and affection. Court said that both these statutes do not consider the biological inquisitiveness of adolescence and treat all such acts, whether by consent or not, as “rape” for victim of certain age group.
- Court further said that teenagers and young age people who indulge in such sexual interactions unmindful of the consequences, when realize about there mistake, it would be too late and their meaningful lives snuffed out by their immature and negligent acts. Such acts generally arise out of the human curiosity or biological cravings which psychologists regard as natural.
- Court further said that students and young age people are unknown to the terms sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and penetrative sexual assault and the minimum punishments provided for them.
- Court while referring to the legal maxim “Ignorance of law is not an excuse” and said that the real purpose of the amendments brought in to the Sec-376 of IPC and enactment of the POCSO Act are manifold. Court further said that punishment of offender is only one while its prevention is another and such prevention will only be achieved if the consequences of these provisions and awareness about the same will be created from the schools itself. Court said that the schools should include sessions or classes on the provisions of POCSO Act and Sec-376 of IPC. Court further blamed the shortcomings of education ministry of the state in creating awareness to the young age students about such heinous offences and their consequences.
- Lastly, court said that it is the high time to step up and explore about the methods of creating awareness about such acts and their consequences. Court ordered the State Government of Kerala to come up with suggestions and measure for creating aforementioned awareness.
- The court exercised its power under the Article 226 of the Constitution of India and suo moto implead three parties that is, State of Kerala, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), the other three additional respondents in the present bail application, to issue the directions for creating better awareness on the statutes and their provisions in schools in Kerala.
Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – POSH at Work & Riddhima Khanna