In a matter related to POCSO Act, the comment and decision of Allahabad High Court are in discussion everywhere. According to reports, while hearing the case, the Allahabad High Court said that ‘Oral sex is not a crime of severe category’. Apart from this, the High Court also reduced the sentence of the convict related to the case. Now there is a hue and cry everywhere that why did the Allahabad High Court give such a decision and statement.
What did people say?
When the news of this decision of Allahabad High Court came, people were furious. Taking a jibe at the court, they started giving reactions on social media. A user named Grouchy Maxx wrote,
There is no rape in India.
Rapes do not happen in Bharat. https://t.co/urutf2Agpc
— Grouchy Maxx (@slowgrowl) November 23, 2021
A user named Uday writes.
The judges should be ashamed of giving such a decision.
Shame on those milords for such stupid judgement https://t.co/lwbl8ZdoCw
— Uday Daud (@daud_uday) November 23, 2021
The Twitter handle named We Move said,
We don’t need a justice system.
We don’t need a judiciary https://t.co/Q2HAP9vfFP
— we move (@Ocreativitigang) November 23, 2021
While Zoya wrote,
This isn’t very comforting. Since it was not ‘rape’, did it become less severe? Children harassed by such criminals get a lot of mental trauma. Shouldn’t the court have thought about this?
This is appalling. It hints to the mindset where all dignity and honour is attached to the private parts. Since it wasn’t ‘rape’ rape, it was less serious? The trauma, the mental scarring of children who are sexually assaulted by these criminals isn’t worth any consideration? https://t.co/246DTZuX0t
— Zoya Rasul (@zoyarasul) November 23, 2021
What is the whole matter?
The Allahabad High Court has said this while clarifying the provisions of the POCSO Act, which protects children from sexual assault. According to the news of India Legal Live, the matter is related to an incident that happened on 26 March 2016. In Chirgaon, a locality in the Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh, Sonu Kushwaha took a boy to a temple by luring him 20 rupees. The boy was only ten years old at that time. Sonu asked the boy to have oral sex with the lure of money. After doing this, Sonu also threatened the boy not to tell anyone about this.
But when the boy’s father inquired about Rs 20, the victim told everything. After this, the father complained to the police, and a case was registered against Sonu Kushwaha under sections 377 and 506 of the IPC, in addition to section 3/4 of the POCSO Act.
The case went on in a Jhansi court, and Sonu was found guilty. On 24 August 2018, he was separately sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment under Section 6 of the POCSO Act. A fine of Rs 5000 was also imposed. Sonu reached the High Court against this. Now what happened there, they tell.
What did the High Court say?
During the hearing of the High Court, it came to the fore that the police had collected evidence under section 3/4 of the POCSO Act apart from the IPC. But during the hearing in Jhansi, the Additional Sessions Judge had imposed section 5/6 of POCSO on Sonu. This section of the POCSO Act itself talks of ‘severe sexual assault’.
In English, they have been written as ‘Aggravated Sexual Act’, which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years. Whereas section 4 mentions ‘penetrative sexual assault’. That is, when a person enters or puts his penis in the child’s mouth or tries to do so, then this section is imposed.
The police had registered a case against Sonu under this section. And it has minimum punishment of 10 years. Explaining the difference in the sections, the Allahabad High Court said that in this case, there was ‘penetrative sexual assault’ and not ‘aggravated sexual assault’.
Sonu Kushwaha’s lawyer told the court that the convict had been punished under the wrong section. He said Section 6 talks of ‘aggravated sexual assault’, while his client did ‘penetrative sexual assault’. Therefore he should be sentenced under section 4 and not under section 6. The lawyer also told the court that the police’s evidence also pertains to section 4.
According to reports from websites related to legal matters like India Legal Live and Bar & Bench, the court found the police investigation correct and considered that Sonu had indeed committed the crime. Still, his offence is covered under Section 4 of the POCSO Act, Not Section 6K. For this reason, the court reduced Sonu’s sentence.
However, considering the victim’s age, many people say that this decision of the High Court is not correct. Experts say that this case is related to section 5/6 of POCSO because the victim’s age was ten years at the time of the crime. It is noteworthy that according to Section 5 of the POCSO Act, sexual harassment of children below the age of 12 years comes under the category of a serious offence, while the High Court gave the verdict under Section 4.