The 22nd Law Commission, in its report submitted to the Union Law Ministry, has recommended against lowering the age of consent from 18 to 16 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. The Commission's report, released on Friday, cautions against what it calls "tinkering" with the current age of consent.
As per the existing law in India, the age of consent stands at 18. The Commission outlined its concerns, stating that reducing the age of consent to 16 could result in "unintended consequences" of a severe nature. These consequences may include a direct and adverse impact on the ongoing efforts to combat child marriage and child trafficking. Furthermore, it cautioned that such a change could potentially diminish the effectiveness of the POCSO Act, rendering it merely a symbolic legal framework.
Instead of altering the age of consent, the Law Commission has recommended amendments to the POCSO Act to ensure that cases involving consensual relationships with tacit approval from both parties are treated differently than those that fall under the law's strict provisions. The proposed amendments would introduce guided judicial discretion when sentencing cases involving tacit approval between individuals in the 16-18 age group.
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