Hearing a teenager’s request against his conviction in a rape case, Calcutta High Court issued a list of guidelines for adolescent boys and girls asking them to control their sexual urges and also respect the dignity and bodily autonomy of the other gender. The teenager last year was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a sessions court for having sex with his romantic partner, who is a minor.
During the hearing, the girl had told the court that she was in a relationship of her own will and had subsequently married him. She said that the age of consent for sex in India is 18 and their relationship was an offense.
Consent given by a person aged below 18 is not regarded as valid and sexual intercourse with them amounts to rape under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
A two-judge bench of Justices Chitta Ranjan Dash and Partha Sarathi Sen set aside the verdict of the sessions court and called for comprehensive sex education in schools to avoid legal complications arising from sexual relations at a young age.
The bench said that sex among adolescents is normal but arousal of such urge is dependent on action by the individual, maybe a man or woman.
The court urged girls to control their sexual urges and not give in to two minutes of pleasure.
“Control sexual urge/urges as in the eyes of the society she is the looser when she gives in to enjoy the sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes,” the bench said in its judgement.
The bench also said that it is the duty of young girls to protect the “right to the integrity of her body, dignity and self-worth”.
It added that boys should respect a girl’s dignity and should train their minds to respect women.
“It is the duty of a male adolescent to respect the aforesaid duties of a young girl or woman, and he should train his mind to respect a woman, her self-worth, her dignity and privacy, and the right to autonomy of her body,” the court said.