The Bombay High Court has observed that touching private parts of a minor and kissing on lips do not amount to unnatural offence under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Anuja Prabhudessai made the remarks, while granting bail to an accused, after noting that the POCSO offences with which the accused was charged, were punishable with maximum imprisonment up to five years and the accused had been in custody for almost a year.
It noted that the statement of the victim as well as the First Information Report prima facie indicated that the Applicant had touched the private parts of the victim and had kissed his lips.
Section 377 defines unnatural offences as voluntarily having carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal and the punishment is imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description for a term extending up to 10 years, noted the Bench.
It added that the section clarifies that penetration was sufficient to constitute carnal intercourse, as stated in the section.
Apart from Section 377, the accused had been booked under Sections 384 (punishment for extortion), 420 (cheating) of IPC and sections 8 (punishment for sexual assault) and 12 (punishment for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
According to the FIR, the father of the minor had found some money missing from their cupboard. Upon asking, the minor informed that he had given that money to the accused for recharging an online game ‘Ola Party’.
The minor also informed that the accused had sexually abused him.
The Court said that Section 377 would not apply, while proceeding to grant bail.