Supreme Court sets aside ‘skin to skin’ judgment of Bombay High Court

By Legal Wires 3 Minutes Read

The Supreme Court has set aside a Bombay High Court judgment which had held that pressing the breast of a child without removing her clothes will not amount to sexual assault under Section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act since there was no ‘skin-to-skin’ contact.

Attorney General for India v. Satish

A Bench comprising of Justice UU Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M Trivedi held that for an offence of sexual assault under POSCO, sexual intent is relevant and ‘skin to skin’ contact is not relevant.

The most important ingredient of for constituting the offence of sexual assault is sexual intent and not skin to skin contact with the child. Construction of a rule should give effect to rule rather than destroying it. The intention of legislature cannot be given effect to unless wider interpretation is given,” the court said.

The Apex Court was in view that an act of touching the sexual part of a child with a sexual intent comes within the preview of Section 7 of the POSCO Act and ‘skin to skin’ contact is a narrow and absurd interpretation.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court had ruled that pressing the breast of a 12-year-old child without removing her clothes will only fall within the definition of outraging the modesty of a woman under Section 354 of the IPC and not sexual assault under the POCSO. Therefore it acquitted a man for an offence under Section 7 of POCSO on the ground that there was no “skin-to-skin” contact between the victim and accused.

Legal Wires

Team @LegalWires

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