The Madras High Court recently observed that the use of information technology today presents a significant challenge in educating teenagers, whose minds are frequently influenced by readily available pornography, deceiving them and leading them to engage in sexual offences without realising the repercussions. The matter was between Kanthan v State and others (HCP (MD) No. 1655 of 2021) and was presided over by Hon’ble Mrs. Justice J. Nisha Banu and Hon’ble Mr. Justice N. Anand Venkatesh.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The father of an 18-year-old boy who was being held by the district collector on charges of being a “Sexual Offender” under Section 2(ggg) of the 1982 Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Cyber Law Offenders, Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Sand Offenders, Sexual Offenders, Slum-Grabbers, and Video Pirates Act filed a writ of habeas corpus under Article 226 of the constitution calling for records.
Petitioners argued about the gross violation of procedural safeguards and that their representation was not considered on time and there was unexplained delay.
The court observed that as laid down In Tara Chand vs. State of Rajasthan and others, reported in 1980 (2) SCC 321, the Honourable Supreme Court has held that any inordinate and unexplained delay on the part of the Government in considering the representation renders the very detention illegal. Further the court observed that there was inordinate and unexplained delay on the part of the detaining authority and thus the detention was quashed.
The hon’ble court stated that The influence of information technology on teens’ minds is significant, and it presents a significant issue. The teenagers, who are easily exposed to pornography even via their mobile phones, become confused and misled during a stage in life when they are going through hormonal changes and engage in behaviours without thinking about the effects. Attempts must be made to treat these teanagers’ mental depravity once they have been apprehended and are being held in custody. All efforts must be made to reform such a person since the goal of locking up a teenager is not to leave him and cast him out of society.
Lastly the court suggested that the state come up with some mechanism whereby offenders of this nature are counseled when they are in prison and once they come out of the prison they must have a reformed life.
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JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY ADITI PRIYADARSHI