A 23-year-old man - who has 'Peter Pan syndrome', per his lawyer - was granted bail by a special Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) court in Mumbai in a kidnapping and sexual assault case of a 14-year-old girl whom he is reported to have later "married".
Peter Pan is a fictional character from a mythical place called Never-Never Land where children never grow up. Those with this syndrome exhibit emotionally immature behaviour and are unable to take on adult responsibilities or have relationships. However, the WHO does not recognise it as a psychological disorder.
"The family members of the victim were aware of their relationship. The applicant and the victim got married and lived together as husband and wife...It is further submitted that the applicant is suffering from Peter Pan syndrome," the court observed.
Advocate Sunil Pandey, who appeared in the matter for the accused, argued that the girl's family knew about the relationship but did not like it because of the man's illness and background.
"In fact victim's family knew about their love relationship. But her family didn't like their relationship due to the man's illness and poor background and also had a grudge against his family members. The victim had knowledge of what she was doing and got involved in the relationship voluntarily," Mr Pandey said.
The man was arrested in April after the family filed a kidnapping complaint.
The bail order said the girl had "sufficient knowledge and capacity to know the full import of and has only thereafter voluntarily joined the applicant".
The man has no criminal antecedents, the court noted, adding no purpose would be served to keep him in custody.
"The victim is a minor. There is no material on record regarding the illness of the accused," the prosecutor argued.