Lawyers opinions on POCSO judgment of Bombay High Court

A recent judgment of the Bombay High Court read that skin to skin contact is a requirement to qualify as sexual assault, this judgement read as:
“Admittedly, it is not the case of the prosecution that the appellant removed her top and pressed her breast. As such, there is no direct physical contact i.e. skin to skin with sexual intent without penetration”

This judgement received an outcry nationwide. Section 7 , POCSO Act, on which this judgement was delivered states:
“Whoever, with sexual intent touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of the child or makes the child touch the vagina, penis, anus or breast of such person or any other person, or does any other act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without penetration, is said to commit sexual assault.”

Advocate Chitranshu Sinha stated that:
“This interpretation isn’t based on any precedent or analysis of the law. POCSO is very clear that the physical nature of the act is sufficient is attract an offence under its provisions but the Court here takes an ultra-technical interpretation without explaining the legal basis for the same. There was enough evidence to find the accused guilty under POCSO.”

Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari satated:
“In this case, he (the assaulter) did press the breasts of the child. So what if he didn’t take off her top? Are you going to say that the child felt any less assaulted? In fact, a wider definition was given for sexual assault under POCSO because you want to cover acts apart from penetration. I don’t think that this section means that only skin to skin contact is punishable.”

This was a very disturbing judgment by the Bombay High Court which sets an extremely wrong precedent. The Supreme Court intervened and stayed this order.

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