The High Court found that pressing a 12-year-old child’s breast without removing her clothes is simply outraging a woman’s modesty under Section 354 of the IPC, not sexual assault under POCSO.
On Wednesday, Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court that a Bombay High Court decision acquitting a man of an offence under Section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), based on the fact that the victim was clothed and there was no “skin-to-skin” contact, could have far-reaching consequences.
Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal, the State of Maharashtra, and the National Commission for Women filed appeals against the ruling, which were considered by a bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi (NCW).
The High Court, according to AG Venugopal, misconstrued Section 7 of the POCSO Act, which defines sexual assault.
“Will pressing the breast of a kid wearing a blouse prevent an offence under Section 8?” asks the judge. “This judgement will be taken as a precedent for lower courts, and the result will be terrible.
The AG predicted that it will result in a unique situation
Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal, the State of Maharashtra, and the National Commission for Women filed appeals against the ruling before a bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi (NCW).
In such cases, Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra relied on skin-to-skin contact rulings from other countries.
“While penal statutes must be interpreted carefully, it was clear that the statute was intended to protect more than only unclothed girls”
It is not essential to touch the minor’s exposed skin.”
Senior Advocate Siddhartha Amicus Curiae Dave was the second person to make a submission.
“In the first section body parts are listed. The second section discusses sexual intent. So, if a man holds a child’s hand and the question is whether or not it is sexual assault, the question is whether or not there is sexual intent “he stated
The Court remarked at this point, “The second portion of Section 7 is not applicable to our reading. All other issues will be ignored. We are limited in our ability to determine whether or not skin-to-skin contact is required under the Section.”
Dave responded, “My submission is that if you are touching the child’s sexual organs, the sexual intent becomes more simply establishable.”
On January 19, the High Court held that stroking a 12-year-old child’s breast without removing her garments will only be considered outraging a woman’s modesty under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).