The Supreme Court on Friday (8 December) criticised the Calcutta High Court's recent comments advising young girls to "control sexual urge" as "objectionable and unwarranted".
The apex court condemned these remarks, which were part of the high court's verdict in a sexual assault case, and urged judges to avoid expressing "personal opinions or preaching".
Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal, forming a judicial bench, stated that the comments infringed upon the rights of adolescents as laid out in Article 21 of the Constitution.
"At first glance, it appears that judges should not be expressing personal opinions or delivering sermons," stated the bench, as they issued a notification to the West Bengal government and other involved parties in the lawsuit.
The court has requested the assistance of senior advocate Madhavi Divan in the case, Hindustan Times reported.
The Supreme Court independently acknowledged the observations made by the Calcutta High Court on 18 October 2023.
The proceedings were commenced as directed by CJI DY Chandrachud, and the case was subsequently allocated to the bench.
A two-judge panel of the high court, while delivering a verdict in a case under the POCSO Act, noted that it's typical for teenagers to desire the companionship of the opposite gender. However, they stated it was not "normal" for these adolescents to participate in sexual activities without any commitment or dedication.
As per PTI, the panel also asserted that every young woman should restrain her sexual desires, as societal perceptions may deem her a loser if she succumbs to the brief enjoyment of sexual pleasure, lasting barely two minutes.
The statement also emphasised that the girls ought to safeguard their self-respect and value.
For young men, it said that should honor the aforementioned "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”.
While adjudicating a plea from a teenager challenging his conviction in a rape case, the Calcutta High Court made these remarks. The young man had received a 20-year prison sentence for engaging in a sexual relationship with his underage romantic partner.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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