KOCHI: There’s a growing tendency to misuse the provisions of the POCSO Act to foist false cases of sexual abuse against biological fathers when custody battles come before Family Courts, observed the High Court.
Dismissing an appeal filed by the grandparents of a five-year-old girl who sought permanent custody of the child, HC observed that Family Courts should act cautiously while initiating proceedings under the POCSO Act. While the father claimed he had been taking care of the child since the death of his wife, the grandparents alleged the father was abusing the girl.
A Division Bench comprising Justice K Harilal and T V Anilkumar observed that allegations levelled against the biological father can be true in rare cases and can be wholly false too.
The Family Court must apply its mind and endeavour to find out the true circumstances behind the registration of the crime. “Unless a very cautious approach is adopted by the Family Court to ensure that information on which the crime was registered was not frivolous and vexatious, many an innocent father fighting for the custody of his ward will become a victim of false implication of crimes under the POCSO Act,” the Bench held.
The Bench made it clear that unless there are reliable materials to convince the allegation of sexual abuse, mere registration of the case shall not be reckoned as a ground for rejecting the father’s claim for custody. The Bench dismissed the case as the petitioners were not able to substantiate the allegation of sexual abuse.