New Delhi: Acquitting a man who groped a minor girl, the Bombay High Court ruled that such an offence “without skin to skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault under the POCSO Act. The hearing dates back to January 19 when a Nagpur bench of Justice Ganediwala modified the order of a sessions court that had sentenced the 39-year-old accused to three years of imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.Also Read - 5 Feet Long Snake Found in Bombay High Court Judge's Chamber, Rescued
Justice Ganediwala modified the order of a sessions court, the detailed copy of which was made available now, and held that there must be “skin to skin contact with sexual intent” for an act to be considered sexual assault. Also Read - Is BMC Planning To Impose More Curbs in Mumbai? Here's What Civic Body Told Bombay HC
The verdict has been looked down upon across the country and raised an outrage on social media platforms. Also Read - Proxy Advisory Firm InGovern Advises Investors To Support Dish TV 30 Dec 2021 AGM Proposals
As per the prosecution and the minor victim’s testimony in court, in December 2016, the accused, one Satish, had taken the girl to his house in Nagpur on the pretext of giving her something to eat. Once there, he gripped her breast and attempted to remove her clothes, the high court recorded in its verdict.
However, since he groped her without removing her clothes, “The act…in the absence of any specific detail as to whether the top was removed or whether he inserted his hand inside the top and pressed her breast, would not fall in the definition of sexual assault,” Justice Ganediwala held, adding that it “can be a criminal force to a woman/ girl with the intention to outrage her modesty”.
According to the POCSO Act, sexual assault can be defined only when someone “with sexual intent touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of the child or makes the child touch the vagina, penis, anus or breast of such person or any other person, or does any other act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without penetration is said to commit sexual assault”.