The A division bench of Justices Chitta Ranjan Dash and Partha Sarathi Sen of the High Court had advised young girls and boys to rein in sexual urges.
The High Court had made the observations while acquitting a man who was convicted for raping a minor girl with whom he had a ‘romantic affair’.
The High Court had voiced concerns over the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) conflating consensual acts among adolescents with sexual abuse and hence called for decriminalizing consensual sexual acts involving adolescents above 16 years.
It had called for comprehensive rights based sexual education for adolescents to avoid legal complications arising from sexual relations at a young age.
In its detailed judgment, the Court had explained the reason for sexual urges and the importance of reining in the same.
The bench had opined that sexual urge is created by our own action.
“Sex in adolescents is normal but sexual urge or arousal of such urge is dependent on some action by the individual, maybe a man or woman. Therefore, sexual urge is not at all normal and normative. If we stop some action(s), arousal of sexual urge … ceases to be normal,” the judgment reads.
The bench had, therefore, proposed a ‘duty/obligation based approach’ to the issue, and suggested some duties for both the adolescent females and males.
For adolescent females, the High Court had suggested:
It is the duty/obligation of every female adolescent to:
(i) Protect her right to integrity of her body.
(ii) Protect her dignity and self-worth.
(iii) Thrive for overall development of her self transcending gender barriers.
(iv) Control sexual urge/urges as in the eyes of society she is the looser when she gives in to enjoy the sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes.
(v) Protect her right to autonomy of her body and her privacy.
For adolescent boys, the High Court had held,
“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 right to autonomy of her body.”
The High Court had emphasised the significance of guiding and educating adolescents about issues surrounding sexuality.
For this purpose, the bench had stated that charity should begin at home and parents should be the first teachers.
Further, requisite sex education with emphasis on these aspects and reproductive health and hygiene should be a part of the curriculum of every school, it had said.