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What is Peter Pan Syndrome?

Arfa Javaid

The Bombay High Court granted bail to a 23-year-old rape accused with 'Peter Pan Syndrome' who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl. The court found that the girl despite being a minor voluntarily joined the accused and granted him bail on a bond of Rs. 25,000 and several other conditions on 21 June 2021.

PTI quoted the man's lawyer Sunil Pandey as saying, "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."

He further added that the girl was aware of what she was doing and got into the relationship with his client voluntarily. 

The plea was opposed by special public prosecutor Veena Shelar who denied the allegations made by the applicant and contended that there is prima-facie sufficient material on record to show the involvement of the applicant in the commission of the offence. The prosecutor further added that there is no proof on record about the illness of the accused applicant and if released on bail, he may tamper with the evidence in the case. 

The court, however, granted bail to the accused citing that his detention will serve no purpose as the probe into the matter is completed and nothing has to be recovered from him. The court noted that the girl despite being a minor had sufficient knowledge and capacity to know the full impact of what she was doing and voluntarily joined the applicant.

About Peter Pan Syndrome  

What is Peter Pan Syndrome?

Peter Pan Syndrome is named after a fictional character Peter Pan from Neverland where children never grow up. People suffering from this syndrome exhibit emotionally immature behaviour and are unable to take on adult responsibilities or have relationships, and are sometimes referred to as Peter Panners. 

Symptoms and Causes

As Peter Pan Syndrome hasn’t officially been diagnosed as a health disorder, its symptoms, characteristics and causes are not clearly defined. However, according to HealthLine, it could affect one’s daily routine, relationships, work ethic, and result in attitudinal changes. The possible causes of the syndrome are overprotective parenting and lack of life skills. It is more common among men. 


Peter Pan is a fictional character created by Scottish novelist James Matthew Barrie in 1904 in his theatre play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up.

The term Peter Pan Syndrome was first used by Dr. Dan Kiley in his book, Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up which was published in 1983. Dr. Dan Kiley described it as a social psychological phenomenon. 

Recognition by WHO

It is important to note that Peter Pan Syndrome is neither recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) as a health disorder nor it is listed on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Real-world examples

It is alleged that American superstar Michael Jackson suffered from Peter Pan syndrome. He once said that Peter Pan is in his heart and named the 1,100-hectare California property, where he lived from 1988 to 2005, Neverland Ranch. This was his way of claiming a childhood he never had. 

Neverland Ranch consists of numerous statues of children, a floral clock, a petting zoo, a movie theatre, and a private amusement park housing cotton candy stands, two railroads, a Ferris wheel, carousel, Zipper, Octopus, Pirate Ship, Wave Swinger, Super Slide, roller coaster, go-karts, bumper cars, a tipi village, and an amusement arcade. 

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