Monday, January 30, 2023

Youth Bar Association of India challenges ‘Skin to Skin’ judgment of Bombay High Court in Top Court

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The Youth Bar Association of India has moved the Apex Court represented by AOR Manju Jetley challenging the recent “skin to skin” judgment of the Bombay High Court as per which, groping a child’s breasts without ‘skin-to-skin contact’ would not amount to ‘sexual assault under POCSO Act.

The special leave petition filed states that such observations would have a wide impact on the entire society and public at large, and has urged the Supreme Court to set-aside/ expunge the same. The Petitioners state the observations made by the Single Judge are “unwarranted” and concern the modesty of a girl child.

It is further stated while passing the impugned judgment, the Single Judge recorded the name of the victim child in paragraph no. 12, which is detrimental and against the spirit of section 228A of IPC which bars publication of names of victims of certain offences. is not the case of the prosecution that the appellant removed her top and pressed her breast. The punishment provided for offence of ‘sexual assault’ is imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine. Considering the stringent nature of punishment provided for the offence, in the opinion of this Court, stricter proof andserious allegations are required. The act of pressing of breastof the child aged 12 years, in the absence of any specific detailas to whether the top was removed or whether he inserted hishand inside top and pressed her breast, would not fall in thedefinition of ‘sexual assault’, the Petition reads.

The Petition highlighted the ground that abuse and outraging the modesty of a child has been a matter of great concern and to effectively deal with this evil, special statute was enacted viz. POCSO Act and to impart speedy justice to the victims special courts were formed. But the impugned observations have badly shaken the belief of the petitioners and like-minded people.

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Moreover, the Petition laid emphasis on the observations made in the impugned order would have the wide impact on the entire society and public at large and as such they are constrained to seek kind indulgence from the Apex Court.

It is pertinent to note that, in a judgement passed on January 19, the Bombay High Court had said,groping a minor’s breast without “skin to skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Also Read: Delhi HC upholds decision of trial court convicting duo in a rape case

Earlier today, on mentioning by Attorney General KK Venugopal, the Supreme Court had stayed the Order of Bombay High Court by which it had acquitted the accused under the POCSO Act saying groping a minor’s breast without “skin to skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault and also issued notice to the State of Maharashtra.

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