Supreme Court says ‘don’t preach’ over Calcutta HC’s ‘sexual urge’ advice

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal said the remarks violated the rights of adolescents under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Calcutta High Court had made these observations while hearing a teenager’s request against conviction in a rape case.

A division bench of the high court, while announcing an order in a POCSO Act case, had observed that it is normal for adolescents to seek the company of the opposite sex but it isn’t ‘normal for them to engage in sex devoid of any commitment and dedication.’

According to PTI, the bench had also said that ‘every female adolescent should control sexual urge as in the eyes of society she will be a loser when she gives in to enjoy sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes.’

It also said the girls should ‘protect their dignity and self-worth.’

For male adolescents, it said, they should ‘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 and privacy, and right to autonomy of her body.’

Criticising the observations that were part of the high court’s judgement in a sexual assault case, the apex court asked judges to refrain from expressing ‘personal views or preach.’

‘Prima facie, we are of the view that the judges are not expected to express personal views or preach,’ the bench said, issuing a notice to the West Bengal government and other parties in the case.

The court has asked senior advocate Madhavi Divan to assist it in the case.

The Supreme Court had taken a suo moto cognizance of the Calcutta High Court’s observations on October 18, 2023.

Per the order, the proceedings were initiated at the behest of CJI DY Chandrachud. The matter was assigned to the bench later.