Skin-to-skin touch is not necessary for POCSO… Attorney General’s argument in Supreme Court

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Table of Contents

Highlights

  • Appeal to set aside the High Court’s decision in the matter
  • Supreme Court has stayed the order of the High Court
  • Attorney General said, the verdict will set a wrong precedent

New Delhi
The Attorney General in the Supreme Court has asked the High Court’s decision to set aside the skin-to-skin touch for offenses under POCSO. The Attorney General has said that the High Court’s decision will set a wrong precedent. That would be dangerous. Skin-to-skin touch is not mandatory under the POCSO Act.

The Attorney General has approached the Supreme Court to set aside the Bombay High Court’s decision in the skin-to-skin touch case. Along with this, the National Commission for Women has challenged the decision of the Bombay High Court by filing a separate application. It was also argued on behalf of the Women’s Commission that the High Court’s decision should be quashed.

The Bombay High Court had held that touching the internal part of a minor without removing his clothes is not a sexual assault unless there is a skin-to-skin touch. During the hearing of the appeal filed against this decision, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court had stayed the order of the High Court on January 27.

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Earlier, Attorney General KK Venugopal had taken up the matter before the Supreme Court and referred to the order of the High Court court and said that a wrong precedent would be set in the case and in such a situation the order of the High Court should be stayed.

High Court Judgment will be a wrong example
Attorney General KK Venugopal on Wednesday argued in the Supreme Court that there is no provision under the POCSO Act that skin-to-skin touch is necessary for an offence. He referred to Sections 7 and 8 of the POCSO Act and said that skin-to-skin touch in its content is not necessary for the offense.

Venugopal said that the Bombay High Court has wrongly defined the POCSO Act. Said that Section-354 of the IPC has punishment for molesting a woman. But, the present case is for a 12-year-old girl and that is why the POCSO Act has been enacted. Children are at greater risk and the POCSO Act has been enacted to protect them and there is no mandatory skin-to-skin touch anywhere under that law.

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Also said that the decision of the High Court will become a dangerous precedent and it will prove to be a wrong example for the future. Gita Luthra, appearing for the National Commission for Women, argued that the POCSO Act does not mandate skin-to-skin touch.

What is the whole matter?
According to the prosecution, the girl’s mother had given a statement before the police that on December 14, 2016, the accused took their 12-year-old girl on the pretext of feeding her something and misbehaved with her. Tried to open her clothes and pressed her inner part on top of the clothes.

The trial court convicted the accused under POCSO in the case and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. However, the High Court modified the order and did not treat the case as sexual assault under POCSO but tampering under Section 354 of the IPC.

This incident happened with a 12 year old girl. The High Court had said that without removing the clothes, this case does not constitute sexual assault under POCSO. The Supreme Court has stayed the order and the matter is under hearing.

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