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POCSO can\'t be invoked for rape of adult with child-like brain: SC

The stringent POCSO Act to deal with sexual offences against minors cannot be invoked to prosecute a man for raping a mentally-challenged adult victim having an under-developed brain like a child, the Supreme Court today ruled.

The apex court said that according to Section 2 (d) of the POCSO Act, the term \"age\" cannot include \"mental\" age as the intent of the Parliament was to focus on children, i.e persons who are physically under the age of 18 years.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 deals with the sexual offences against those below 18 years of age.

\"On a reading of the POCSO Act, it is clear to us that it is gender neutral. In such a situation, to include the perception of mental competence of a victim or mental retardation as a factor will really tantamount to causing violence to the legislation by incorporating a certain words to the definition.

\"By saying \'age\' would cover \'mental age\' has the potential to create immense anomalous situations without there being any guidelines or statutory provisions. Needless to say, they are within the sphere of legislature. To elaborate, an addition of word \'mental\' by taking recourse to interpretative process does not come within the purposive interpretation as far as the POCSO Act is concerned,\" a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.

In a concurring separate judgement, Justice R F Nariman said that the Parliament, when it made the 2012 POCSO Act was fully aware of the distinction between a woman who is a minor and an adult woman who is mentally ill and chose to protect only children whose physical age was below 18 years.

Source- PTI

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