POCSO applicable to minor Muslim girl who has attained age of puberty: Delhi HC

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 07-07-2022 19:28 IST | Created: 07-07-2022 19:28 IST
POCSO applicable to minor Muslim girl who has attained age of puberty: Delhi HC
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New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI)The Delhi High Court has said that the POCSO Act ensures that children are not sexually abused and exploited and rejected the assertion that a minor Muslim girl who has attained the age of puberty would fall out of its ambit.

Justice Jasmeet Singh said the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) protects children below 18 years of age and it is not customary law specific.

The court's observations were made while dealing with a petition seeking quashing of an FIR registered under sections 376 (rape)/506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) IPC and Section 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act as well as the charge sheet which also invoked the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The petitioner contended that since the victim, a Muslim girl aged 16 years and 5 months on the date of the alleged incident, was a major under the Muslim Personal Law on account of having attained puberty, POCSO was not applicable.

''The statement of the object of the POCSO Act states that the Act is aimed to secure the tender age of the children and ensure they are not abused and their childhood and youth are protected against exploitation. I reject the contention of the petitioner that according to Muslim law since the victim has attained the age of puberty the rigours of the POCSO Act will not be applicable,'' the court said in its order dated July 6.

''POCSO is an Act for the protection of children below 18 years of age from sexual abuse and exploitation. It is not customary law specific but the aim of the Act is to protect children below the age of 18 years from sexual abuse,'' it stated.

As per the FIR, the petitioner had made physical relations with the victim after their engagement and subsequently refused to marry her.

It was also alleged that the parents of the victim gave Rs 1 lakh in cash, a silver chain, and several other items at the time of engagement of the petitioner and the victim. Subsequently, the father of the victim also allegedly gave a sum of Rs 10 lakhs to him, it was said.

The petitioner claimed before the court that he never refused to marry the victim and was still willing to do so.

The victim's parents said that due to whatever transpired in the past, they were not interested in getting the victim married to the petitioner.

The petitioner submitted that false allegations have been levelled only to pressurize him and the victim even refused to undergo a medical examination.

The court dismissed the petition and said that the petitioner's arguments are in the nature of defence and can only be proved or disproved after trial.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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