Scroll Top

POCSO AS A WEAPON FOR TARGETING MEN

INTRODUCTION

Even though all sexual assaults are terrible, attacks on children are seen as being more awful because they are among the most defenceless and innocent victims of such crimes. A significant piece of Indian law, the Protection of Minors from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, was passed in 2012 to address sexual offences against minors. It offers a thorough legal framework for safeguarding kids against sexual assault, exploitation, and pornography. The statute specifies a number of offences against children, including sexual harassment, child pornography, penetrative and non-penetrative assault, and attempts to conduct such offences. It strives to give both boys and girls a secure and supportive atmosphere while acknowledging that both can be sexual assault victims. To reduce trauma, the act emphasises child-friendly practices during the investigation and trial. Cases involving child sexual offences are handled by special courts and prosecutors. Any legal scenario, including those requiring the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, might involve false accusations. To preserve the interests of all individuals concerned, it is essential to address such issues delicately and ensure that they are thoroughly investigated. Although false accusations can be harmful and have negative effects, it’s crucial to avoid making generalisations or assuming that they’re common or indicative of how the law is being applied generally. Following a fair and impartial investigative process is crucial when handling false allegations in POCSO matters. The accused should have a chance to make their defence, and the evidence should be carefully considered to ascertain the truth.

CASES IN WHICH MEN ARE TARGETED

The POCSO Act is not designed to target any specific gender but rather aims to provide a legal framework for the protection of children. But many times people are using the Act’s provisions to falsely accuse the biological father of sexually abusing his kid has become more common in recent years, particularly when a contentious custody dispute is taking place in front of the family court.

In the precise manner that it pursued in Alamohan Das v. State of West Bengal, the court made it clear that it was speculating about the extent of the committal procedures and that a judge may only modify and consider the evidence already in the record after establishing if there is sufficient evidence for the crime to have been committed. The court is prepared to think about the overall significance of the facts and documents given to evaluate if there is a fundamental fault and whether a case has been built against the accused.

In another case of Dr Jaseer Aboobacker v. State of Kerala, the mother sued the father through POCSO to restrict his visitation rights. According to the court, one parent has used the child as a “weapon of choice” against the other. It is horrifying to see that the parents have purposefully or unintentionally not adequately protected their little one from the negative mental effects that will befall their kid as a result of their determination to fight, the Kerala High Court stated. “There can be no question that the small child’s mind would suffer greatly as a result of their odd battle and the very serious accusations of sexual assault made against the father.” The charges were dropped.

The court noted in Suhara and others v. Muhammad Jaleel that the father of a 10-year-old kid was falsely accused of sexual assault by his wife to bar him from having any contact with the child. The Family Court is hearing a case involving the child’s parents’ divorce. During their court-ordered encounters, the father in this case was accused of showing the child nude images of the victim when he was younger and caressing the child’s private regions to have sex. The court carefully considered the family court’s directives and concluded that the mother had not voiced any complaints and that the father and boy had historically had good ties.

The child had been recommended to a counsellor by the family court, who, according to the court’s further findings, had not disclosed any such instances of sexual assault. The court further stated that if such instances had occurred, the counsellor would not have recommended that the child be allowed to communicate with his father more.  The petitioner needs to have his freedom safeguarded, the court said, questioning the legitimacy of the accusations made against him.

In one such case of Anjali Kapoor vs Rajiv Baijal of targeting men, a matrimonial appeal against a family court decision that denied the grandmother of a five-year-old girl’s claims and gave the girl’s father custody of the child after her mother passed away was being heard by the Kerala High Court panel. Whether the criminal action brought against the father under the POCSO Act will have any influence on the choice about the child’s custody was one of the issues raised in the appeal. It was contended that the parent who is suspected of sexually abusing the ward is surely disqualified to make that case since the character of the guardian is one of the important considerations listed in Section 17 of the Guardian and Wards Act for examining the claim for permanent custody.

CONCLUSION

It is essential to approach discussions about the misuse of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as a weapon for targeting men with caution and a focus on individual cases. While false allegations and misuse can occur in any legal context, it is crucial not to generalize or assume widespread misuse of the act. While concerns about misuse should be taken seriously, it is crucial to maintain a balanced perspective and avoid undermining the significance of child protection. Strengthening the justice system, promoting awareness about the provisions and safeguards of the act, and ensuring fair investigations and trials are key steps towards maintaining a just society. By fostering a dialogue that promotes empathy, fairness, and the protection of children’s rights, we can work towards a society that effectively addresses the issue of child sexual offences while ensuring justice for all individuals involved.

According to American author Harper Lee, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” Each case must be carefully examined to ensure that justice is served and that the enormous effort done to protect children is not tarnished by unfounded accusations. It is crucial to bolster the legal system, raise awareness of the provisions and safeguards of the act, and ensure impartial inquiries and trials to strike the correct balance. Gandhi said: “Justice that love gives is a surrender; justice that law gives is a punishment.” Remember, the objective is to safeguard and assist all children, and by working together, we can work towards a just society where their welfare is of utmost importance.

Author(s) Name: Sakshi Chakrawati Waghmare (ILS Law College, Pune)