The Supreme Court of India has taken suo motu cognizance of the Calcutta High Court order, which said that every adolescent girl must control their sexual urges rather than giving in to two minutes of pleasure. The order was passed in October 2023 while acquitting an adolescent boy for sexually assaulting a minor girl. The judgement will be handed out by the judicial bench, comprising Justices Abhay S. Oka and Pankaj Mithal.
The Supreme Court has stated that the Calcutta High Court orders “were highly objectionable and completely unwarranted”. It said that the judges are not expected to give out their personal views on cases or preach. It added that the orders of Calcutta High Court violated the rights of adolescents under Article 21 of the Constitution, said Asian News International on 'X'.
The Controversial Calcutta High Court Judgment
As per the report by Livelaw, the Calcutta High Court sentenced the boy to 20 years of prison under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act for engaging in sexual relations with a minor girl. The court, comprising the bench of Justices Chitta Ranjan Dash and Partha Sarathi Sen, stated certain advisories for adolescent girls and boys.
The advisories issued to girls said that adolescent girls must protect their right to integrity, dignity, and self-worth. They should strive for the overall development of "self-transcending gender barriers.". Moreover, adolescent girls must be able to protect their right to autonomy over their bodies and their privacy.
The order also added, "Control sexual urge/urges as in the eyes of society, she is the looser when she gives in to enjoy the sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes."
Addressing adolescent boys, the order stated, "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, privacy, and the right to autonomy of her body."
The Calcutta High Court further talked about the biological explanation of the sexual urges of adolescent girls and boys. It stated that while libido is normal for any human body, sexual urges are not. The sexual glands of the respective gender become active only when they are stimulated from outside.
The bench stated, "Sex in adolescents is normal, but sexual urge or arousal of such urge is dependent on some action by the individual, may be a man or woman. Therefore, sexual urges are not at all normal and normative."
Debates and Discussions
The High Court's opinion has sparked widespread debates and discussions on sexual behavior and gender norms in society. Critics argue that the advice perpetuates harmful stereotypes and places the burden of societal expectations squarely on the shoulders of female adolescents. On the other hand, proponents contend that the judgment seeks to address the delicate balance between individual autonomy and societal values.
A bench comprising Justices Abhay S. Oka and Pankaj Mithal has taken up the case, titling it "In Re: Right to Privacy of Adolescents." As the Supreme Court takes up the case, it assumes the crucial role of shaping legal precedent on issues pertaining to the right to privacy of adolescents. The outcome of this case has far-reaching implications for the legal landscape and societal attitudes towards the autonomy of young individuals.