EXAMINING THE AGE OF CONSENT: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE POCSO ACT
In 2012, India introduced the ‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act,’ a pivotal legal instrument aimed at combating child sexual abuse and safeguarding the well-being of children throughout the legal process. Notably, the Act raised the age of consent for sexual activity to eighteen, in alignment with revised rape legislation. This paper re-evaluates historical debates on the age of consent in late nineteenth-century India and examines their contemporary relevance. The study delves into the challenges faced by today’s teenagers, navigating a world saturated with easily accessible sexual information and grappling with natural curiosity and physical urges. The article deals with the implications of criminalizing consensual sexual activity within the framework of fundamental human rights principles. Furthermore, the article explores international legal frameworks related to the age of consent, while offering prudent amendments for the Indian legal system. This paper sheds light on the profound impact of the age of consent in India, underscores the necessity for thoughtful legal revisions, and addresses the ever-evolving landscape of adolescent sexual experiences in the modern era.