Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has directed the police to take action against a 40-year-old man, who married a minor girl, and the parents of both the minor girl and the man. The police have also been directed to rescue the girl and produce her before the CWC.
Speaking to Express, CWC chairperson Vidyaa Ramkumar said the girl, a class X drop out, hailing from Oulgaret was married to Muthukumar, a resident of Periyar Nagar, on February 12. After two days of the marriage, childline received a call on the minor marriage and an enquiry by the CWC found it to be true. The girl is from a very poor family and the mother is running the house by selling fish. The man who married her is physically challenged and an activist.
“An act of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of eighteen is an offence, as per POSCO Act, and hence the CWC directed the police to take action against the man, said Vidyaa. Sexual interactions or intimacies with children is punishable and if proved the culprit will get a 10 years imprisonment, she added.
Though IPC provides exception for marital rape which states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, if the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape. But no such exception has been grafted to the POCSO Act, said Vidyaa. “In case of conflict between the provisions of the POCSO Act and any other law, the former will override. Owing to Section 42A of the POCSO Act, the exception under the IPC will not apply,” she said. Thus, in all cases of child marriage where the bride or groom is below 18 years, a charge of aggravated penetrative sexual assault can lie against them under the POCSO Act, she added.