The Karnataka High Court has held that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) and IPC Acts are substantive and prevail over personal laws.
A bench headed by Justice Rajendra Badamikar made the observation recently while looking into the bail petition of a 19-year-old rape-accused from Chikkamagaluru.
The accused had lured a 16-year-old girl to a lodge and committed forcible sexual assault.
Setting aside arguments that the Mohammedan law specifies normal puberty age as 15 years and it is considered the age of marriage also, the bench stated that POCSO and IPC acts are supreme and overrides personal laws.
It was also argued that since the accused is a Muslim, there is no jurisdiction of the POCSO act against him.
The bench remarked that under the guise of personal law, the petitioner can’t be granted bail.
The court rejected the bail even as a charge sheet was submitted in the case by saying that there is a chance of tampering with evidence.
In another case, the same bench set aside the arguments seeking bail under the Mohammedan law, and granted bail to the accused on humanitarian grounds.
The man was booked under POCSO Act after his 17-year-old wife was found to be pregnant. The husband’s counsel argued that since he had got married under the Mohammedan law, the POCSO charges against him should be dropped.
Though the bench disapproved of the argument, granted him bail considering the fact that the pregnant minor girl could be taken care by the accused husband.