India Supreme Court to hear appeal of case ordering young girls to take ‘cautionary’ measures to avoid sexual assault News
© JURIST / Neelabh Bist
India Supreme Court to hear appeal of case ordering young girls to take ‘cautionary’ measures to avoid sexual assault

The Supreme Court of India scheduled on Friday the hearing of In Re: Right to Privacy of Adolescents after the Calcutta High Court last year ordered that “young adolescent girls are obligated to control their sexual urges” under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

The Calcutta High Court, in its judgment concerning a case that involved sexual intercourse between an “older adolescent” man and a minor girl, suggested “cautionary” obligations should have been taken on the part of the adolescent woman. Among the duties stated by the court, it said that the girls should “thrive for the overall development of her self-transcending gender barriers” and also must “control sexual urge/urges as in the eyes of society she is the looser when she gives in to enjoy the sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes.”

The controversial judgment triggered the country’s Apex Court to take the case suo motu, meaning it is taking up the case of its own will, and to register a civil writ petition under Article 32 of the Indian constitution. The Apex Court issued notice to the Calcutta High Court, the victim and the accused to express its disappointment over the objectionable statements made by the lower court and the alleged breach of the victim’s dignity under Article 21 of the constitution. The Apex Court called the observations made by the lower court “highly objectionable” and “absolutely unwarranted.”

The Court also declared:

In an appeal against conviction, the High Court was called upon to decide only the merits of the appeal and nothing else. Prima facie, we are of the view that, in such a case, the Hon’ble judges are not expected to either express their personal views or preach…The said observations are completely in violation of rights of adolescents under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Article 21 of the Indian constitution talks about the protection of life and personal liberty. The provision reads, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”