In case of Ashik Ramjan Ansari .. Appellant Versus The State of Maharashtra & Anr. CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1184 OF 2019

Raising concerns about the increase in criminal cases involving minors in consensual sexual relationships, the Bombay High Court called for a shift from a punitive approach towards adolescents’ sexuality to one that enables access to sexual and reproductive health services.

“The mere apprehension that adolescents would make an impulsive and bad decision, cannot classify them under one head and by ignoring their will and  wishes. The age of consent necessarily has to be distinguished from the age of marriage as sexual acts do not happen only in the confines of marriage and not only the society, but the judicial system must take note of this important aspect,” Court observed. The Hon’ble court also observed that, “Whilst all children are entitled to be protected from sexual violence, such protection should also enable young people to extend their boundaries, exercise choices and engage in necessary risk taking though not exposing them to inappropriate response, harm and danger. The penal approach towards adolescents’ sexuality has impacted their life to a barrier free access to sexual and reproductive health services”.

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