Holding hand of minor to express love, inadvertent physical touch without sexual intent not assault under POCSO

The Bombay High Court recently held that merely holding or touching hand to express love towards a minor without sexual intent does not amount to offence of sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Bombay High Court passed an order on the pre-arrest bail plea by the 27-year-old man, who was booked by Baramati City Police earlier this year for punishable offences under Sections 354 (criminal force committed on a woman to outrage her modesty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 (sexual assault of minor) of the POCSO Act, among others.

The man holding a minors hand cannot be said to be falling within the ambit of section 7 of the POSCO Act, since the essentials of this provision are not made out in the conplaint. Any physical touch without an sexual intent cannot be brought within the ambit of this provision

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