Court Verdict States Groping a Child Over Clothes Does Not Amount to Sexual Assault

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Court Verdict States Groping a Child Over Clothes Does Not Amount to Sexual Assault

Court says that groping a child with clothes on isn’t sexual assault, Get more updates

Thursday, 28th January 2021

A court ruling in India said that groping a child through clothing cannot be deemed sexual assault as long as there is no “skin-to-skin contact” or “sexual intent”.

The Bombay High Court judgement was passed by Justice Pushpa V. Ganediwala on January 19, which cleared of any wrong-doing, a 39-year old man charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year old girl in 2016.

The ruling has been subject to much censure and criticism by activists across the nation who are enraged by the decision passed in a country that is fraught with cases of rape and sexual violence.

The accused who goes by the name Satish has been brought to court by a girl who said she was taken by him to his house on the pretext of giving her food and then manhandled her and tried to take her clothes off.

Justice Ganediwala said in her verdict, that the incident cannot be accrued as sexual assault under the national Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. She said, as “per the definition of ‘sexual assault’, a ‘physical contact with sexual intent without penetration’ is an essential ingredient of the offence”.

The POCSO Act states sexual assault is when someone “with sexual intent” touches a child’s genitalia, anus or breasts, or makes a child touch somebody else in the said areas, “or does any other act with sexual intent that involves physical contact without penetration”.

The law underlines that anyone convicted under this charge must be sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison.

Satish was given the sentence earlier by a lower court, However, the verdict was overturned by the Bombay High Court who in turn charged him with “outraging a woman’s modesty”. This is a less serious charge and calls for a sentence of just one year with a fine of INR 500.

Activists rose in anger across the country after the verdict was passed. Several child rights groups said they would appeal to the Supreme Court to determine whether the POCSO was misinterpreted by the Bombay High Court.

The News Talkie Bureau



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