Published on: 13 July 2023 at 13:40 IST
The Madras High Court has directed the police to identify all cases involving consensual relationships of minors and separate them from pending cases. The court stated that it has the authority to quash proceedings if they are against the best interests and future of the children involved. A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Anand Venkatesh and Justice Sunder Mohan made this observation.
There are currently 21 cases pending in Puducherry, 6 cases in Karaikal, and 2 cases in Yanam at various stages of investigation or trial. Amicus Curiae Vidhya Reddy assisted the court, while an Additional Public Prosecutor represented the respondent police. The court appreciated the efforts taken by the Director General of Police and Additional Director General of Police, Crimes against Women and Children, for preparing a detailed report on the pending cases. The court ordered the respondents to come up with a plan of action based on the flagged issues in the reports.
It directed the Director General of Police to identify cases involving consensual relationships from the pending 1,274 cases and present a separate list to the court. The court further mandated that a brief summary of each case, accompanied by the victim’s statement, be prepared for better understanding and decision-making. It expressed concern about the lack of sensitivity and independent judgment displayed by the Child Welfare Committee and Juvenile Justice Board in some cases, where they seem to act under their guidance without exercising independent judgment.
The court also instructed the respondents to establish a standard operating procedure for conducting potency tests by collecting only blood samples. The matter has been scheduled for the next hearing on August 11, 2023.