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HC : Not sexual assault if minor is groped without ‘skin to skin contact

Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court – HC, in a verdict issued on January 19, a detailed copy of it now available, held that there should be “skin to skin and skin” for the purpose of making the act considered sexual harassment.

Capturing a baby’s breast without “skin-to-skin contact” will not be considered a sexual assault as defined under the Child Protection Act in Sexual Offenses (POCSO), the Bombay High Court said.

Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, in a verdict issued on January 19, a detailed copy of it now available, held that there should be “skin to skin and skin” for the purpose of making the act considered sexual harassment.

HC : Not sexual assault if minor is groped without 'skin to skin contact
HC : Not sexual assault if minor is groped without ‘skin to skin contact

He said in his decision that casual sex would not fall under the definition of sexual harassment.

Justice Ganediwala reversed a court order order, which sentenced a 39-year-old man to three years in prison for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.

According to the prosecutor and the testimony of the young victim in court, in December 2016, the accused, one Satish, had taken the girl to his house in Nagpur with the intention of giving her food.

There, he grabbed her chest and tried to undress her, Justice Ganediwala wrote in a statement.

However, since she was naked without taking off her clothes, the case cannot be called sexual harassment and, instead, is an offense of provoking a woman’s dignity under section 354 of the IPC, the high court held that.

While section 354 includes a minimum sentence of one year imprisonment, sexual assault under the POCSO Act includes imprisonment for at least three years.

The federal court sentenced him to three years imprisonment for offenses under the POCSO Act and under the IPC section 354. These sentences were to serve concurrently. The high court, however, acquitted him under the POCSO Act while maintaining his conviction under IPC section 354.

The HC said that In view of the lenient sentence handed down to this case (under the POCSO), in the opinion of this court, they also said that strong evidence and serious allegations are required,” HC said.

It said that the act of squeezing the breast of a 12-year-old child, without any specificity as to whether the upper extremity has been removed or whether you have put your hand inside and above and pressed the breast, will not fall into the definition of sexual assault.

Judge Ganediwala went on to say that in his ruling “breastfeeding could be a crime against a woman / girl with the intention of offending her dignity”.

The POCSO Act defines sexual harassment as when a person “intends to have sexual intercourse with the vagina, penis, anus or chest of a child or causes a child to touch the genitals, penis, anus or chest of that person or another person, or another sexual act involving external contact. entry is called sexual harassment “.

The court, in its decision, states that the “physical contact” referred to in the definition of sexual harassment must be “skin-to-skin” or direct contact with the body.

The HC also said that admittedly, it is not the prosecutors’ fault that the plaintiff removed her upper part and pressed her breast. As a result, there is no direct physical contact i.e. skin to skin for sexual purposes other than penetration.

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