Can’t assume act forced: Calcutta high court clears man of ‘raping’ his 17-year-old lover – Times of India

Kolkata News

KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Tuesday acquitted a man convicted and jailed for raping a 17-year-old girl he had had a relationship with on the ground that the accused being a male wasn’t “enough to presume that sex between two sufficiently mature persons was forced and not consensual”.
The legal definition of rape or sexual abuse of children “has to be construed as a unilateral act on the part of the accused”, Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya said.
He observed that rather than automatically charging the accused under Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act), it was essential to ascertain “whether the act was unilateral or participatory, along with the level of maturity and psyche of the victim as well as the accused, before convicting the accused under such serious allegations of rape and penetrative sexual assault, which might ruin an otherwise bright career at the bud”.
In November 2015, the accused had been accused of rape by the girl he had been in a relationship with for two-and-a-half years.
The girl alleged that the man cajoled her into a sexual relationship by promising marriage. He allegedly refused to marry her later, prompting her to lodge the complaint.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme court directives on cases related to sexual assault)