The Supreme Court overruled a judgment of the Bombay High Court. The Bombay HC said that the “skin-to-skin” contact was necessary for the offense of the POCSO Act.
The bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and Bela Trivedi said restraining the meaning of “touch” and “skin-to-skin” contact would hint to “narrow and absurd judgment” and destroy the intention of the Act, which is to protect the children from sexual offenses.
The Supreme Court said “Touching over the clothes/sheet with sexual intentions is hidden in the definition of POCSO. Courts should not be hysterical in searching for vagueness in words that are clean and plain.” The court then added, “Narrow ostentatious judgment that would defeat the purpose of the plan cannot be allowed.”
The Supreme Court noticed while hearing appeals by Attorney General KK Venugopal, NCW, and the State of Maharashtra against the January 12 ruling of the Nagpur Branch of the Bombay HC.
The Supreme Court delayed the order that had released the man under the POCSO Act, saying “groping a minor’s breasts without “touching” cannot be called sexual assault” on January 27.
Justice Pushpa Ganediwala said that since the man didn’t touch the child’s breasts without clothes, the offense is not sexual assault but it does create the offense of raging a woman’s decency under the IPC section 354.
The High Court changed its decision and imprisoned the man for three years for sexually assaulting a minor girl.