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SC Stay on Bombay HC judgment in POCSO case

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Syllabus: GS 2- Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure.

Synopsis: Supreme put stay on the recent verdict of the Bombay High Court in the sexual assault case.

 Background:

  1. The Session Court had convicted the man for the offence of sexual assault under Section 8 of the POCSO Act.  And sentenced him to imprisonment for three years.
  2. In its recent decision, the Bombay High Court set aside the decision of the Session Court and acquit the man from charges under POCSO Act.  The reasoning given for that is the absence of direct physical contact i.e. skin to skin contact with the victim.
  3. The Bombay High Court convicted the man for the offense of outraging the modesty of a woman under the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to imprisonment for one year.
  4. Supreme Court in its recent decision put a stay order on the decision of the Bombay High Court.

Read MoreWhy Judges are acquitting accused under POCSO Act

Why the SC put a stay on the order of the Bombay High Court?

  • Firstly, the High Court decision introduced a new condition to satisfy for a trial under POCSO Act.
  • Secondly, this erroneous decision of the High Court may be used as a precedent by the other courts in similar cases.
  • Thirdly, this differentiation would also have a negative social impact. Low punishment is less likely to discourage the sexual assaults on the children.

 Way Forward

Sexual abuse and outraging the modesty of a child is a matter of great concern. The step initiated by the Supreme Court is taken to re-evaluate an insensitive judgment which is harmful for the interpretation of the POCSO Act.

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