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MP High Court requests Centre to reduce women’s consent age to 16 from 18

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GWALIOR, July 1 (PTI): The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has requested the Centre to reduce the consent age of females to 16, observing that the present age of 18 has disturbed the fabric of society as injustice is going on with adolescent boys.

The court’s request came on June 27 through an order quashing a First Information Report (FIR) against a man who was accused of repeatedly raping a minor girl and impregnating her in 2020.

Nowadays, every male or female near the age of 14 years, due to social media awareness and easily accessible internet connectivity, is getting puberty at an early age, the judge said.

The court said boys and girls get attracted to each other owing to early puberty, which is ultimately “resulting in consensual physical relationships”, read the order.

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“‘I request the Government of India to think over the matter for reducing the age of prosecutrix (female complainant) from 18 to 16 years as earlier before (IPC) amendments (were made) so that injustice should be redressed,” read the order by Justice Deepak Kumar Agarwal.

The court said the age of consent for females at 18 has “disturbed the fabric of society”.

As per the prosecution, the complainant was a minor in 2020 and would take coaching classes from the petitioner. She alleged that the petitioner once gave her a spiked drink, raped her and made a video of the sexual assault. He then allegedly raped her many times blackmailing her with the clip.

Later, the minor had also physical relations with a distant relative, the court noted.

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“This Court, looking into the physical and mental development of an adolescent of that age group, would consider it logical that such a person is capable of making a conscious decision with regard to his or her well-being,” the court said.

“Generally, girls and boys of adolescence develop friendship and thereafter, due to attraction make physical relationship,” it said. In these cases, male persons are not at all criminal, the court order said.

“Today, most of the criminal cases, in which prosecutrix is under 18 years of age, due to aforesaid anomaly, injustice is going on with adolescent boys. Thus, I request the Government of India to think over the matter for reducing the age of prosecutrix from 18 to 16 years as earlier before amendments so that injustice should be redressed,” said the court.

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