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  • The bench of Justice Bachu Kurian Thomas on Friday decided that if one of the parties is a juvenile, charges under the Pocso Act would apply, while dismissing the bail motion of an accused who was jailed for raping a 16-year-old girl from West Bengal who later turned out to be his wife.
  • The Kerala high court has declared that marriage with a minor from the Muslim community is not exempt from the ambit of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso)
  • Any Muslim husband who interacts physically with his minor wife would be held accountable by the law.
  • The accused, according to the prosecution, kidnapped the girl and repeatedly abused her sexually. Later, the 31-year-old married the girl.
  • The accused maintained that he was legally married to the girl and the Muslim personal law allowed marriage of females from the community after they hit puberty and therefore he cannot be charged under the Pocso Act. 
  • He insisted that in accordance with the applicable personal laws, he had married the girl in March 2021 and made her his legal spouse.
  • He also cited past rulings from Haryana, Delhi and Karnataka high court to bolster his contention. But the court rejected the submissions.
  • The court recognised that the Pocso Act was a remarkable enactment and developments and progress attained in societal thought have resulted in the legislation. 
  • This special statute was developed based on principles coming out of jurisprudence dealing to child abuse. 
  • The court ruled the legislative objective conveyed through the Pocso Act was to prohibit physical interaction with a minor, even under the guise of marriage.
  • “A child marriage compromises the growth of the child to her full potential. It is bane of society,” said the judge while denying the bail application of the defendant.
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