The Judgment given in this case by Nagpur Judges bench have received so much opposition and people are lashing out at the judiciary system after the Bombay high court Judgment on this case.
They interpreted the sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012, to include only skin to skin contact with sexual intent.

On Wednesday of 14th December, 2016 at around 11: 30 A.M. The 12 year old went out of her home to buy fruits. When she did not come back home for a long time, her mother began looking for her and at that moment neighbor told her that the person named as Satish had taken her daughter to his house. So she went to his house looking for her daughter, when she asked him about her he said he did not know where she is but while peeping inside his house she saw her daughter in one of the room.
In her complaint the victim mother said that she saw her daughter crying and she told her that Satish had brought her to his house on pretext of giving her a fruit.
The victim said that Satish then pressed her breast and tried to remove her knicker which is when she shouted. So after this situation the mother took her daughter immediately to the police station to lodge the fir.
In February 2020 , child court found Satish guilty under section 354 Indian penal code which is outrage modesty of women , Section 363 which is kidnaping and 342 which is wrongful confinement along with section 7 and 8 of POSCO ACT 2012, which talks about protection of children from sexual offence.
Satish was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 3 years along with a fine of RS 500.

Accused was not satisfied with it and he filed the appeal in Bombay High Court as in front of Justice Pushpa Ganediwala question in consideration was –
Whether the ‘pressing of breast and attempt to remove salwar would fall within the definition of ‘sexual assault as defined in section 7 and punishable under section 8 of the POSCO Act.
According to the POCSO Act any act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without penetration is said to be sexual assault.
So high court held that – whatever groping or act happened with clothes it did not happened directly skin to skin contact.

In its verdict, the high court had said that since the man groped the child without removing her clothes, the offence cannot be termed as sexual assault but it does constitute the offence of outraging a woman’s modesty under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.
And only 1 year rigorous imprisonment with 500 RS fine was given.
So National Commission for women challenged the verdict of High Court in the Supreme Court of India.
The apex court had on January 27 stayed the high court’s verdict after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal mentioned the matter before it and said that the judgment was “unprecedented” and was likely to set a “dangerous precedent”.
And Supreme Court have put stay in this verdict.

SO these type of narrow interpretation done by our justice system is dangerous to the law and to the citizens too. There should always be new ways to amend and modify the definition in order to give justice to the victim.

Monisha Acharya

An aspiring lawyer in process.

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