On Friday, the Bombay High Court held that touching the cheeks without sexual intent would not result in the offence of ‘sexual assault’ as defined under section 7 of the POSCO act. while granting bail to a 46-year old man charged with sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl.
The victim’s mother filed a First Information Report alleging that the applicant caressed her daughter’s cheeks inside the shop where he was working. The applicant owns a meat shop and has been accused of sexually abusing the victim.
An FIR has been filed against him for offences punishable under Sections 354, of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 8, 9 (m), 10 and 12 of the Indian Penal Code of the POCSO Act, 2021. Following that, the applicant was arrested, an investigation was carried out, and a final report was filed.
The Court of Justice Sandeep K. Shinde stated that a primary evaluation of the evidence does not indicate that he allegedly caressed the victim’s cheeks with sexual intent.
Taking into account the circumstances of the case, the Court ordered his release on the condition that he execute a PR bond in the amount of Rs.25,000/-with one or more sureties in the same amount.
It should be emphasised that sexual assault is defined in Section 7 of the POCSO Act, which states that “Whoever 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”.