New Delhi : The Meghalaya High Court held that as per the facts of the case, the accused person and the minor victim were in a relationship and both had consensual sex.
The Meghalaya High Court on Monday held romantic relations between a minor victim and a person accused under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO Act) as grounds.
The bail application was accepted in the sexual harassment case registered against the accused.(Efina Khonglah v. the State of Meghalaya).
“On perusal of the records, especially the statements of the victim and the accused, it is prima facie clear that there is a romantic relationship between the two and the sexual act involved between them was consensual, even though one of the alleged victim’s minors There is no legal validity of consent, however, this aspect of the matter cannot be ignored while the petition for grant of bail is being considered by the court.”
Counsel for the accused, CB Savian, argued that his client was unable to understand the consequences of his action and that by keeping him in captivity along with other prisoners, some of whom may be hardened criminals, such proceedings could not save his career. This proceeding will be affected his future.
POCSO Act was created to prevent cases of sexual assault on children and does not consider punishment of juveniles in romantic relationships,
The accused advocate argued that the accused is in judicial custody for almost 11 months, while the cases registered under the POCSO Act are to be disposed of in a year.
On the other hand Advocate General B Bhattacharjee, appearing for the victim, opposed the bail application saying that the accused is an adult against whom serious allegations have been made. and argued that the law does not differentiate whether the act was the result of romantic love or not.
In further proceedings, the advocate appearing for the accused referred to the judgment of the Madras High Court in Vijayalakshmi and others.
Another case registered under the POCSO Act stated that the Act was not intended to punish juveniles in a relationship who had agreed to sexual acts between them.
The court allowed the bail application on the accused on a personal bond of ₹ 20,000 on two sureties of an equal amount.
The accused person was ordered not to tamper with the witnesses in the case or abscond/exit the jurisdiction of the trial court without prior permission.
Download full judgement : Click HereEphina_Khonglah_vs__State_of_Meghalaya