Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Saturday asked the Legislature to address mounting concerns over the POCSO Act, which criminalises consenting sexual activity even in ‘romantic’ partnerships for people under the age of 18.
The CJI was speaking as the main speaker at a two-day national consultation on the POCSO Act, which was organised by the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice in collaboration with UNICEF.
He stated that one of the subjects the panel would consider during the event is POCSO court judgements in ‘romantic instances,’ or circumstances when consenting teens engage in sexual behaviour.
“One of the panel talks today will be about POCSO court judgements in ‘romantic instances,’ or circumstances when consenting teens engage in sexual behaviour. As you are no doubt aware, the POCSO Act criminalises all sexual behaviour for individuals under the age of 18, regardless of whether permission exists between the two children in a specific situation. During my tenure as a judge, I’ve noticed that this type of case raises challenging problems for judges at all levels. There is rising concern about this subject, which the Legislature must evaluate in light of credible studies by specialists in teenage healthcare ” stated Chief Justice.
Furthermore, the CJI stated that sexual abuse of children continues to be a hidden problem due to a culture of silence, and that the state must urge families to disclose abuse even if the offender is a family member.