The POCSO Act is applicable to minor Muslim girl who has attained puberty: High Court of Delhi

The High Court of Delhi, through learned judges, Justice Jasmeet Singh in the case of Imran v. State of Delhi through Delhi Police Commissioner and Ors (W.P.(CRL) 1449/2022 & CRL.M.A. 12616/2022) held that the POCSO Act is applicable to minor Muslim girl who has attained puberty

BRIEF FACTS: The  petition was sought for quashing of FIR under Sections 376/506 IPC & Section 6 of POCSO Act and the charge sheet under Sections 376/506/406/377 IPC read with Section 6 of POCSO Act and Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act pending before learned ASJ-01 (West) Special Court, POCSO Act. When the victim was around 16 years and 5 months, the petitioner visited the house of the victim and requested the parents of the victim for marriage with the victim. The parents of the victim agreed on the condition that the marriage will only take place when the victim clears her Class XII. The parents of the victim gave money and other valuables to the petitioner on different occasions. Later, the petitioner had a physical relationship with the victim and thereafter he refused to get married to the victim and abused the victim as well as her parents. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner argued that the provisions of Section 6 of POCSO Act was not applicable to the present case, as according to Muslim Personal Law, the victim was a major as she has attained puberty. 

FINDINGS OF THE COURT: The court was in agreement with the learned counsel for the State that POCSO was an Act for protection of children below 18 years of age from sexual abuse and exploitation. It is not customary law specific but the aim of the Act is to protect children below the age of 18 years from sexual abuse. The statement of object of the POCSO Act states that the Act is aimed to secure the tender age of the children and ensure they are not abused and their childhood and youth is protected against exploitation. For the reasons above, the court rejected the contention of the petitioner that according to Muslim law since the victim has attained the age of puberty the rigours of POCSO Act will not be applicable. The petition was accordingly dismissed. 

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