POCSO ACT 2012 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - Polity)

News-CRUX-10     19th August 2023        

Context: The Supreme Court recently sought the Centre’s response on the application of the Romeo-Juliet law to India to decriminalize consensual teenage sex as a PIL claimed millions of under-18 girls and over-18 boys engage in consensual sex but a boy gets arrested for statutory rape if the girl gets pregnant and her parents lodge a police complaint.

  • Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012, consent of a child below 18 years of age is immaterial and any person who attempts sexual activity with such an underage person would be guilty of sexual assault. Under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, sex with a girl below the age of 16 is rape even if she gave her consent.

About Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012

  • It's the initial comprehensive legislation in India that addresses child sexual abuse, established in 2012.
  • Managed by: Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Aim: To safeguard children from sexual assault, harassment, and explicit content offenses, and to create Special Courts for these cases.
  • A person responsible for an institution (excluding children) who doesn't report a sexual offense involving a subordinate can be penalized.
  • The POCSO Act creates a gender-neutral approach within the legal structure for victims of child sexual abuse. It defines a child as "any individual" below 18 years old.

Section 375

  • Section 375 of the IPC outlines the actions that count as rape when done by a man.
  • This rule also includes two exceptions.
  • It doesn't consider marital rape a crime anymore.
  • Additionally, it states that medical procedures or actions won't be treated as rape.

Romeo Juliet Law

  • The "Romeo and Juliet" law is a section in French laws about the age of consent.
  • It allows young people under 15 to have a sexual relationship with someone up to 5 years older without getting in trouble.
  • But this rule doesn't apply if the situation involves rape.