The Karnataka High Court has allowed a compromise settlement between families of two minors who had engaged in a sexual act leading to the boy being charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Justice M Nagaprasanna quashed the proceedings pending in a lower court against the boy who was a minor when the complaint was filed in December 2021.
The boy and girl, who were classmates, had eloped. After the complaint, they were found together in another district. The boy was charged for rape under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under Section 5 of the POCSO Act.
While the case is pending in the lower court, the High Court was recently approached for quashing the case. The families of the two youngsters had arrived at a settlement and did not want to pursue the case. The HC noted that in this eventuality the boy would be acquitted eventually.
”I deem it appropriate to take note of the settlement, accept it and free the petitioner from the mesh of crime he is enmeshed in, failing which, the future of a student would be put in insurmountable jeopardy,” the court said.
The HC found that the two minors had indulged in sexual acts but it would not amount to a crime as envisioned under POCSO Act.
”A romantic love between a boy and a girl of the age of adolescence, sometimes arising out of infatuations, results in the boy embroiling himself into the vortex of the provisions of POCSO Act. It is in these peculiar facts, I deem it appropriate to take note of the settlement.” While the lower court proceedings were quashed, the HC pointed out that youngsters are not aware of POCSO.
”The act has been done in the frenzy of youth, owing to human curiosity coupled with biological cravings. These are acts which are entirely different from those which become offences under Section 5, which deals with aggravated penetrative sexual assault. These provisions are not known to students, who are themselves, minors and get infatuated,” it said.