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Calcutta HC's 'control sexual urges' advice to girls: SC to hear suo motu writ petition, WB's appeal on May 2

The apex court court, which initiated a writ petition on its own, had observed that judges are not expected to "preach" while writing judgements

PTI New Delhi Published 23.02.24, 04:50 PM
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The Supreme Court said on Friday it will hear on May 2 the matter involving a Calcutta High Court verdict wherein the judges had advised adolescent girls "to control sexual urges".

A bench of justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan had taken cognisance of some of the observations made by a division bench of the high court in a case of alleged sexual assault.

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The bench said the appeal filed by West Bengal against the October 18, 2023 verdict of the high court would also be heard the same day.

The top court had on December 8 last year criticised the verdict and termed as "highly objectionable and completely unwarranted" some observations made by the high court.

The apex court court, which initiated a writ petition on its own, had observed that judges are not expected to "preach" while writing judgements.

In its judgement, the high court had observed that female adolescents should "control sexual urges" as in the "eyes of the society she is the loser when she gives in to enjoy the sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes".

The high court had made the observations while hearing an appeal by a man who was awarded a 20-year sentence for sexual assault. The high court had acquitted the man.

Both the writ and the state's appeal came up for hearing before the apex court on Friday.

The counsel appearing for the state said the top court had issued notice to the alleged victim and her appearance through a lawyer was necessary. The bench said she has to appear before the court through her counsel.

While listing the writ petition and the state's appeal for hearing on May 2, the bench said the girl will, however, have to be present before it on March 7.

While hearing the matter on January 4, the apex court had observed that certain paragraphs in the high court verdict were "problematic" and writing such judgements was "absolutely wrong".

In its order passed on December 8 last year, the apex court had referred to certain observations made by the high court and said, "Prima facie, the said observations are completely in violation of the rights of the adolescents guaranteed under Article 21(right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India." It had observed the issue before the high court was about the legality and validity of the order and judgement dated September 19/20, 2022 by which a man was convicted of offences under sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage) of the Indian Penal Code as well as section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

"As per the order of the the Chief Justice of India, suo motu writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India has been initiated mainly due to sweeping observations/findings recorded by the division bench of the High Court of Calcutta in the impugned judgment," it had said.

The apex court had said in the appeal against conviction, the high court was called upon to adjudicate only on the merits of the appeal and nothing else.

"But we find that the high court has discussed so many issues which were irrelevant. Prima facie, we are of the view that while writing a judgment in such appeal, the judges are not expected to express their personal views. They are not expected to preach," it had said.

In its verdict, the high court had acquitted the man stating that it was a case of "non-exploitative consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adolescents, though consent in view of the age of the victim is immaterial".

The high court had said it is the duty/obligation of every female adolescent to "protect her right to integrity of her body; protect her dignity and self-worth; thrive for overall development of herself transcending gender barriers; control sexual urge/urges as in the eyes of the society she is the loser when she gives in to enjoy the sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes; protect her right to autonomy of her body and her privacy".

"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 her right to autonomy of her body," the high court had said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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