SC stays Bombay HC order which held ‘skin-to-skin contact’ necessary for sexual assault under POCSO Act

The top court also issued a notice to Maharashtra government and permitted the attorney-general to file an appeal against the 19 January verdict

Press Trust of India January 27, 2021 15:22:38 IST
SC stays Bombay HC order which held ‘skin-to-skin contact’ necessary for sexual assault under POCSO Act

File image of the Supreme Court of India. PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday stayed the Bombay High Court order which acquitted a man under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act saying “groping a minor's breast without "skin to skin contact" cannot be termed as sexual assault”.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian stayed the high court order after Attorney General KK Venugopal mentioned the matter.

The top court also issued notice to Maharashtra government and permitted the AG to file an appeal against the 19 January verdict of Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

On 19 January , the high court had said that groping a minor's breast without "skin to skin contact" cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the POCSO Act.

It held however that since the man groped her without removing her clothes, the offence cannot be termed as sexual assault and, instead, constitutes the offence of outraging a woman's modesty under IPC section 354.

The high court had modified the order of a sessions court, which had sentenced a 39-year-old man to three years of imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

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