Supreme Court reverses Bombay HC’s POCSO judgment

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The Supreme Court has overturned a controversial judgment of the Bombay High Court that “skin to skin” contact is not necessary for a crime to be considered under POCSO Act. The HC commented that the judgment was meant to give a narrow interpretation of the law.

Pointing out that the objective of POCSO is to protect children from sexual abuse, the court said that physical contact made with sexual intent comes under POCSO, and skin to skin contact is not the criteria.

A bench comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M Trivedi delivered the judgment in the appeals filed by the Attorney General of India, National Commission for Women and the State of Maharashtra against the judgment of the High Court.

In 2016, a man named Satish took a girl home offering her fruit. He touched the girl’s chest and tried to undress her. The girl screamed and her mother rescued her. A case was registered on the incident and the sessions court convicted the accused under the POCSO Act and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. The accused approached the High Court, where a Nagpur bench passed a sensational verdict. The Justice said that as the accused did not touch her body, it could not be sexual abuse.

Child rights activists and legal experts were outraged by the verdict. The National Commission for Women, along with the Attorney General, has also approached the Supreme Court over HC’s judgement.

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