1. In my opinion there was no misdirection to the jury. The learned Judge was fully justified in telling the jury to rely more on medical evidence than the opinion of a lay European Magistrate as to the age of an Indian woman. The jury was rightly directed and found by their verdict the girl to be under 18 years of age.
2. It was next argued that the appellants had been discharged of an offence under Section 366-A by the Magistrate. Such, however, is not the case. The Magistrate has definitely stated that the accused were discharged of the offence under Section 363. He has nowhere stated that they were discharged of an offence under Section 366-A. Finally, the argument was that if the minor is a consenting party no offence is committed under Section 366-A. Such, however, is not the law. The consent may be induced and such consent would not prevent the commission of an offence.
3. The aim as I have been stating from this Bench of the provisions of Section 366-A is to prevent immorality and the provisions are framed more with the desire of safeguarding the public interest of morality than the chastity of one particular woman. Often it may happen that a girl under 18 may desire to leave her husband to better her prospects elsewhere. Such a desire would not save her helper from a conviction under Section 366-A. Any reason given by the appellants to move the girl from one place to another is sufficient for inducement. In the present case it appears that the appellants first put forward the story 'that the girl was to be taken to her sister. Even after the girl discovered that she was not being so taken she fell in with the plan of the appellants. The offence, however, of inducement had been committed, and the girl's subsequent willingness will neither prevent the offence nor reduce the gravity of the offence of the appellants. The gravity of the offence consisted in trading in women and that offence the appellants certainly committed.
4. I dismiss the appeal and direct that Bhagwati Prasad who is on bail shall surrender to undergo the balance of his sentence