CJI Chandrachud appeals to Legislature to reconsider age of consent under POCSO Act
Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud urged the Legislature on Saturday to reconsider the age of consent under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012, which was currently at 18 years, in view of growing concern over the issue.
Delivering the keynote address at the two-day national consultation on the POCSO Act, organised by the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice, in association with UNICEF, Dr. Chandrachud said that the age of consent under the POCSO Act posed difficult questions for judges dealing with such cases.
Speaking over the judgements related to cases where consenting adolescents engaged in sexual activity, the CJI said in its present form, the POCSO Act criminalised all sexual acts among those under 18 regardless of whether consent was present factually among the minors.
He said this was so as the law presumed that there was no consent among those below 18 years of age.
The CJI recalled that when he was a Judge, this category of cases posed difficult questions for him, much as it did for Judges across the spectrum.
Calling it a vexed topic, the CJI again requested the Legislature to consider the issue, while taking in view reliable research by experts in adolescent healthcare.