Madras HC may quash criminal lawsuits against minor boys in consensual sex cases
The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu DGP to identify pending criminal cases against minor boys for having consensual sexual relations with or eloping with minor girls, according to media reports.
The court has reportedly decided to quash such cases if it finds that the process of law is being abused or that the proceedings can put the futures of the minors concerned at stake.
The Bench of Justices N Anand Venkatesh and Sunder Mohan observed on Monday (July 10) that in most such cases, the girl is by default treated as the victim, while the boy is considered a juvenile offender.
The court, pointing out that 1,274 cases against minors were pending across the state, said in the order that it must be ascertained “how many cases fall under the category of consensual relationship”. It added that “in appropriate cases, this Court can also exercise its jurisdiction and quash the proceedings” if those go against “the interest and future of the children involved”.
Call for more sensitive approach
The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed in 2022 after a minor girl went missing in Cuddalore district. It was later found to be a case of elopement. The police filed a closure report before the Juvenile Justice Board and the court quashed the case after noting the report.
In connection with the same case, the court also decided to discontinue with the two-finger test conducted on victims of sexual offence and directed the police to find a standard operating procedure to conduct potency tests on boys through blood samples instead of the archaic semen collection.
The court also called for sensitization programmes to be conducted for the Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and the Juvenile Justice Board by the Legal Services Authority and the State Judicial Academy because they often display a lack of sensitivity in dealing with such cases.
“A victim girl is mechanically detained in a home when it is not warranted and when such victim girl can be sent along with her parents. Similarly, the child in conflict with law is send to the Juvenile Home or the POS…(when) the child in conflict can be sent along with the parents by collecting a bond…,” the court reportedly noted.