SC Stays Order Saying Groping Without ‘Contact’ Not Sexual Assault
Bombay HC had said that groping a minor’s breast without “skin to skin contact” can’t be termed as sexual assault.
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 27 January, stayed the acquittal order of the accused in the case where Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court had said that groping a minor's breast without “skin to skin contact” can't be termed as sexual assault as defined under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
A Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde also issued notice to the accused in the case, seeking his response in two weeks, reported news agency ANI.
"Order will set a dangerous precedent,” Attorney General KK Venugopal had reportedly submitted before the court.
What Did Bombay HC Say?
A sessions court had previously held a 39-year-old man guilty of sexual assault for groping a 12-year-old and attempting to remove her salwar.
However, Justice Puspha Ganediwala of the Bombay High Court modified the order of the sessions court and sentenced the man under Section 354 IPC (outraging a woman’s modesty), observing that there was no “specific detail” as to whether the minor’s top was removed and there was any skin-to-skin contact.
“Considering the stringent nature of punishment provided for the offence, in the opinion of this Court, stricter proof and serious allegations are required.”
The court also added: “The act of pressing breast can be a criminal force to a woman/girl with the intention to outrage her modesty.”
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