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News: Recently, the Supreme Court has set aside the controversial judgment of the Bombay HC which held that ‘skin-to-skin’ contact is necessary for an act to be classified as sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences(POCSO) Act.
About the judgment
About the POCSO Act
Read here: The POCSO Act and associated issues
Why the Bombay High Court verdict is controversial?
-Ignored the basic fact that the entire Act is aimed at penalising actions rooted in ‘sexual intent’. So the judgment is out of sync with the legislative intent behind the enactment of stringent law.
-The law is to protect children based on principles found in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
-Restricting the interpretation of the words ‘touch’ or ‘physical contact’ to ‘skin to skin contact’ would be a narrow and pedantic interpretation of Section 7 of the POCSO Act.
So, the Supreme Court verdict ensured that the core ingredient of a sexual offence is the “sexual intent”.
Source: This post is based on the article “Error corrected” published in The Hindu on 20th November 2021.