A Mumbai man got bail in the sexual assault case of a 14-year-old minor as the court found him suffering from ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’. A local POCSO based in Mumbai granted the bail to the accused who was in trial for kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her. On account of his condition, the Special Judge S.C. Jadhav granted him a bail on the bond of Rs. 25,000.


Trigger warning: Sexual Assault

In a puzzling development, a 23-year-old man who according to his lawyer suffers from a psychological condition called the ‘Peter Pan syndrome’, was granted a bail by the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act Court in Mumbai. The case was related to a man first kidnapping a minor, sexually assaulting her and then “marrying” her later.

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The Facts of the Case

In the court, 23-year-old accused’s lawyer Sunil Pandey claimed that his client suffers from ‘Peter Pan Syndrome. According to PTI, Pandey in the court said-

The victim’s family knew about their relationship. But her family didn’t like their relationship due to the boy’s illness and poor background and also had a grudge against his family members.”

Minor knew what she was in for: Lawyer of accused

As per the accused’s lawyer, the victim knew what she was in for and got into the relationship with the accused voluntarily. On this, Public Prosecutor Veena Shelar, who was representing the minor, opposed the plea and denied the allegations made by the applicant. Prosecutor claimed that there is sufficient on record material that shows the involvement of the applicant in committing the crime.

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No official material on illness: Prosecution lawyer

The prosecutor also claimed that there is no material on record about such illness of the applicant and that if the court grants him a bail, he may tamper with the evidence. After hearing both sides, the court ended up giving bail to the accused on the account of the fact that nothing has to be recovered from the accused and his detention will serve no purpose.

The court further observed that as per the victim’s statement, “prima facie shows she herself left her parents’ house and joined the company the accused” The court further noted that as per the factsof the case, the minor had enough knowledge and capacity to know what she was doing and she voluntarily joined the applicant.

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What is Peter Pan Syndrome?

Peter Pan syndrome is a condition where an fully grown adult is socially immature. The condition is named after Peter Pan, a fictional character in a play that was germinated by J.M. Barrie. In the play, the character was known as a mischievous boy who runs away from growing up and oftens pends his time on Neverland, a magical island.

The name for the condition was coined by Dan Kiley who wanted to coin a phrase or a word to describe men who never grow up or behave their age.

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What do psychologists say?

Maanwi Sharma, clinical psychologist based in Gurgaon spoke to a news platform and gave more insights on the condition. According to Sharma-

“Peter Pan Syndrome in layman’s language can be called an overgrown child. But it is far more complicated as people suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome can be insensitive towards others’ needs, doesn’t want to work or make concrete long-term plans and want to live for the moment.”

According to the Gurgaon based psychologist, the condition is often confused with antisocial or narcissistic personality disorder as people suffering from Peter Pan syndrome can’t show empathy and are often impulsive.

Further, Sharma also said that people suffering from Peter Pan syndrome can be aggressive and may act inappropriate ways. To manage the condition, Sharma said, a playful way of conducting the routine of those suffering from the condition can be the best way.

The term was first introduced by Dan Kiley in his 1983 book titled – Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up.