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    MP High Court Urges Centre to Reduce Age Limit from 18 to 16

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    The Madhya Pradesh High Court has suggested to the Centre that the age under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act should be lowered from 18 to 16 years. This recommendation came during a hearing of a petition filed by a 17-year-old boy who was accused under the POCSO Act based on a complaint from a 14-year-old girl in Gwalior.

    The accused was arrested in 2020 on rape charges. The girl, who was a student, became pregnant, and with the court’s permission, underwent an abortion in the same year. The defense argued that the physical relationship between the victim and accused was consensual. After hearing arguments from both sides, the bench dismissed the FIR against the accused and urged the Centre to consider lowering the age limit to 16.

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    The Madhya Pradesh High Court noted that in today’s internet-driven era, young people are maturing earlier. Many youths engage in physical relationships before turning 18, and sometimes they are charged with rape, which negatively impacts their future.

    It is worth mentioning that various High Courts in different states have previously made similar recommendations. In 2022, Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud also called on Parliament to reevaluate the age of consent, as cases involving consensual sexual relationships among adolescents present complex challenges for judges.

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    Reports indicate that CJI D.Y. Chandrachud highlighted the unique challenge posed by the POCSO Act, which criminalizes all sexual activities for individuals under 18, even if consent is present between two minors.

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