According to a new analysis, 1,715 cases (24.3 percent) of the 7,064 POCSO judgments issued in Assam, Maharashtra, and West Bengal between 2016 and 2020 involved “romantic relationships.”
Enfold Proactive Health Trust, with the assistance of UNICEF India, examined 1,715 Special Court judgments in Assam, Maharashtra, and West Bengal that included an express reference to a romantic relationship between the victim and the accused.
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The Special Court expressly concluded in the majority of cases — 1,058 or 61.7 percent — that the accused and the girl’s relationship was consensual in nature or that they were having a “love affair.”
This included 131 cases (7.6%) in which the Special Court concluded that the relationship was romantic, but the girl denied it or remained silent about it, according to the report.
7,064 POCSO cases between 2016 & 2020 from Assam, Maharashtra, West Bengal, 1,715 cases (24.3 %) involved “romantic relationships”. Study by UNICEF India. 61.7 % relationship between accused & girl were having a “love affair”. 7.6 % were romantic cases, but it denied by the girl. pic.twitter.com/e9T8hktxUI
— Nandan Pratim Sharma Bordoloi (@NANDANPRATIM) December 13, 2022
According to the report, 1,715 (24.3%) of the 7,064 judgments under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act registered between 2016 and 2020 and available on e-courts in Assam, Maharashtra, and West Bengal were “romantic” cases.
In “romantic” cases, the informants were primarily the girls’ parents (70.8%) and relatives (9.4%), who made up 80.2 percent of the informants. In 18.3 percent of cases, girls were informants.
The judgments were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed to gain a thorough understanding of how “romantic” cases enter the criminal justice system, the profile of informants and “victims,” the nature of charges used in such cases, and trends in “victim” testimony and its correlation with the outcomes.
Girls filed complaints in 314 cases (18.3 percent) for reasons such as the accused’s refusal or breach of promise to marry the girl (155 cases) and forced sex or kidnapping in 154 cases.
Other factors included family or community pressure to file a case (52 cases), sexual harassment, including stalking by the accused (24 cases), and other forms of violence (14 cases).
In 1,508 cases (87.9%), the girl admitted to being in a romantic relationship with the accused during the investigation, evidence, or both stages.
The girl’s family and the prosecution presented to the court in 578 cases (33.7 percent) and 170 cases (9.9 percent), respectively, that the girl and the accused were having a “love affair.”