Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • In Anoop vs State of Kerala and ors, the Hon’ble Kerala HC has showcased its concerns over adolescents being unaware of the consequences of having sex, even if the same is consensual, with each other, under the POCSO Act and the amended section 376 IPC. 
  • The Court also added that the POCSO Act, unfortunately, does not distinguish between rape and consensual sex. 
  • The Hon’ble HC was adjudicating upon a bail application when it took note of the alarming rise in the number of sexual offences being committed against school children, most of them being cases in which teens indulge in sexual relationships, being blissfully unaware of the which await them under the POCSO Act. 
  • The Court observed that the enactment of the POCSO Act and the amendments brought to 376 IPC envisage very harsh punishments for such sexual acts. Unfortunately, the statute does not distinguish between the conservative concept of rape and sexual interactions arising out of pure affection and biological urges. 
  • The Act does not contemplate the biological inquisitiveness of adolescence, and treat all intrusions on bodily autonomy, whether by consent or otherwise, as rape. 
  • The Court went on to observe that a meaningful life could practically be snuffed out by an immature or negligent act which arises out of human curiosity or biological cravings, which the psychologists consider as natural. 
  • Though the legal maxim which we hold dear is ignorantia juris non excusat meaning that the ignorance of law is not an excuse, the real purpose behind enacting the POCSO Act is manifold. Punishment of the offender is only one, while prevention is another. The latter purpose would be achieved only when consciousness and awareness of its provisions are created from the school itself. 
  • The curriculum must necessarily prescribe classes on the provisions of the POCSO Act as well as the amendments brought into section 376 IPC. The Court also observed that the schools have fallen woefully short in imparting awareness to the young children about these heinous crimes and their consequences. 
     
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