Chennai | Voicing concern over elopement of minor children and attributing it to reasons such as nuclear family setup, Madras High Court said parents should spend more time, than money, with their children.
The court also said that parents should develop a friendly atmosphere with their children so that they don’t conceal anything from them.
The observations were made by the court while granting bail to a 22-year-old man who was arrested after he had eloped with a 17-year old girl and had physical relationship with her.
The court lamented that though the Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 had been enacted to curb sexual atrocities against minor girls and young children, it was “disheartening” to note that girls in the age group of 12 to 17 elope with boyfriends due to infatuation and finally get caught by police.
“Ultimately, it is not only the girl who is victimised, equally the boy with whom she elopes becomes a victim in the eye of law. In the case on hand, the petitioner-boy took the victim girl with him only on her compulsion and resultantly, he is now behind the bars,” it said.
It pointed out that the girl in her statement to police had said that she had voluntarily eloped with the petitioner-boy, by threatening that she will consume poison if he does not take her with him.
Looking at a social perspective, the court said it was of the view that the role of parents was very important in cultivating good thoughts among children from the beginning.
“In many families, children are unable to share their thoughts and aspirations with parents mainly due to fear. Only when the parents develop a friendly atmosphere with their children, they will be able to share everything with their parents and will develop a strong feeling not to conceal any information from them,” it said.
The court said nuclear family setup was another reason for development of distance between children and parents.
“Due to nuclear families, grandparents are sent to old-age homes and the children are left with none to look after them parents should spend more time, rather than money, on their children,” it said.
Ticking off media for its role in such issues, the court said, “Media teaches both good and bad. In movies, a teenage boy runs behind a school-going girl with an intention to propose her, and children, by all means, try to imitate the same in real life. Since children are not able to distinguish good and bad, and bad things easily induce them, they fall prey to it.”
Minor girls also face the risk of being threatened by their boyfriends with SMS and photographs, the court said.