The Youth Bar Association of India and three women have moved the Supreme Court challenging the recent judgment of the Bombay High Court as per which, groping a minor’s breasts without skin-to-skin contact would not amount to sexual assault under POCSO Act, as reported by LiveLaw.
The special leave petition which has been filed through AOR Manju Jetley states that such verdicts would have a wide impact on the entire society and public at large, and has urged the apex court to set aside the same.
The petitioners have stated that the observations made by the Single-judge Bench of Justice Pushpa Ganediwala are “unwarranted” and concern the modesty of a girl child. The plea also states that while passing the impugned judgment, the Single Judge recorded the name of the survivor child which is detrimental and against the spirit of section 228A of Indian Penal Code which bars publication of names of survivors of certain offences.
According to LiveLaw, further, in paragraph no. 26 of the impugned order, the Single Judge had held that “there is no direct physical contact i.e. skin to skin with sexual intent without penetration” which would lead to a dastardly situation and would lower the repute of the entire nation.
According to Bar and Bench, the petitioners have also submitted that the, “Single Judge had made various observations concerning the modesty of a girl child, which are not only derogatory and defamatory but the same are also in utter disregard to the applicable laws.”
The High Court order has convicted the accused under the Indian Penal Code on charges of sexual assault and outraging the girl’s modesty, but acquitted him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.
This controversial order compelled the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to urge the Maharashtra Government to seek action in terms of an appeal while the National Commission of Women (NCW) had announced that it will itself file an appeal in court.
NCW’s social media post reads: “The judgment will not only have a cascading effect on various provisions involving safety and security of women in general but also put all the women under ridicule and has trivialized the legal provisions provided by the legislature for the safety and security of women”.