Home » News » Jammu and Kashmir High Court Rules on Minor’s False Rape Claim Under POCSO Act

In a landmark judgment, the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh recently ruled that a minor (below the age of 18 years) cannot be punished for the offence of perjury for making a false rape claim or a false claim of sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act). 

Justice Rajnesh Oswal clarified that Section 22 (2) of the POCSO Act, 2012 prohibits the punishment of a child for giving false information about a rape or sexual assault case. This provision states that if a false complaint is made or false information is provided by a child, no punishment shall be imposed on such a child.

The case in question involved a 17-year-old girl who alleged that she was dragged into a jungle and sexually assaulted by the accused in 2020 when she was returning to her village. A case was filed against the accused man under Sections 376 (offence of rape) and 341 (offence of wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, along with Section 4 (penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act, 2012.

During the trial, the case against the accused fell apart as the prosecutrix (17-year-old complainant) and her parents did not support the prosecution’s case and were declared hostile witnesses. Notably, the prosecutrix stated thrice in her examination-in-chief (during the trial) that the accused slapped her thrice, but denied having been sexually assaulted by the accused.

The accused was acquitted in 2021. However, the trial court refused to initiate any criminal action for perjury against the complainant or her parents for giving false information. This decision was challenged by the government of Jammu and Kashmir before the High Court.

The High Court dismissed the government’s appeal in view of Section 22 (2) of the POCSO Act, 2012. The Court held that since the prosecutrix was admittedly 17 years of age, she was a minor child. Once the special Act prohibits the punishment of a child in respect of false information provided by a child, the child cannot be prosecuted for the commission of the offence of perjury.

The Court further noted that the complainant stated during the cross-examination in trial that she was not aware of there being any commission of the offence of rape in the case. She was a minor when her statement was recorded by the Police and she justified making the statement before the Court in respect of only slapping by the accused because the person who had drafted her application for registration of FIR told her to make additions, as the Police could not arrest the accused in case of allegations of slapping only.

The Court also noted that the complainant’s mother had merely narrated what her daughter had told her. Therefore, the mother could not be said to have given false information. The father did not make any statement during the investigation. Therefore, he could not be held liable since no occasion arose for him to make any contradictory statement.

The Court concluded that in order to prosecute and punish a witness for the offence of perjury, it must be established that the false statement was made by him deliberately and consciously. In the instant case, there is absolutely no other evidence on record that may establish the fact that the witnesses made false statements deliberately and consciously.

This ruling has significant implications for the interpretation and application of the POCSO Act, particularly in cases involving minors and allegations of false information.

We welcome your comments & feedback

Related News

error: Content is protected !!