Is dating a crime? HC questions Uttarakhand govt on teen arrests

Should minor boys be arrested for going on dates with minor girls, provided the girl's parents file a complaint?

Uttarakhand High Court (file photo)
Uttarakhand High Court (file photo)

NH Digital

In an interesting twist to legal scrutiny, the Uttarakhand High Court has questioned whether it's fair to arrest minor boys for going on dates with girls, should the girl's parents file a complaint.

The high court has asked the state government to examine whether arrests in such cases can be avoided.

Chief justice Ritu Bahari and justice Rakesh Thapliyal of the division bench mused over the practicality of advising rather than handcuffing impressionable minors under section 161 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code, recently replaced by the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita).

" the most, he can be called for giving him advice not to indulge in these things, but should not be arrested," the court said. The observation comes in the wake of a PIL which challenged the wisdom of treating innocent dates as criminal offences, especially when they don't involve violations of the stringent POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.

The PIL questioned the justification of arresting a minor boy for going on a date with a minor girl in case a complaint was lodged by the girl's parents as it did not constitute an offence under sections 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the POCSO Act.

Advocate Manisha Bhandari, the spirited voice behind the PIL, argued that slapping cuffs on teenage boys just for dating is a case of the punishment not fitting the misdemeanour. In such cases, boys are usually treated as sole culprits and punished, which is not fair, Bhandari added.

As the judicial wheels turn, the next date for this legal matter is set for 6 August.

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