A Division Bench observed that if an effort to rehabilitate was not taken, teenagers would lose their entire life and there are chances that they will become hardened criminals
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has asked the State government to come up with a mechanism whereby, sexual offenders, particularly teenagers, are properly counselled when they are in prison so that when they come out, they are reformed and are able to lead a normal life.
A Division Bench of Justices J. Nisha Banu and N. Anand Venkatesh observed that if such an effort is not taken, teenagers will lose their entire life and there are chances that they will become hardened criminals. Such a scenario will neither be helpful to the teenagers nor society.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by a man who sought the quashing of the detention order passed against his 18-year-old son by the Virudhunagar Collector in 2021. The detention order was passed against the teenager holding that he was a sexual offender. The petitioner sought a direction to set his son at liberty.
Technology impacting minds of teenagers: Court
Setting aside the detention order, the judges observed that technology is posing a great challenge and it was impacting the minds of teenagers. The case at hand is a textbook case, where the detenu is aged 18 and the co-accused is a minor. They are now branded as sexual offenders.
“Teenagers are easily exposed to pornography through mobile phones, get confused and are misled at an early age.. They indulge in activities without understanding the consequences. Once these teenagers are arrested and kept inside the prison, efforts must be taken to attend to their mental perversion,” the judges said.
“The purpose of confining a teenager in prison is not to abandon him and throw him out of mainstream society. Steps must be taken to reform such a person. The court suggests that the State Government come up with some mechanism whereby offenders of this nature are properly counselled when they are in prison so that when they come out of prison, they are reformed and they are able to lead a normal life,” the judges said.