‘Skin To Skin’ Judgment : Supreme Court Issues Notice On NCW Plea Challenging Bombay HC’s POCSO Acquittal

first_imgTop Stories’Skin To Skin’ Judgment : Supreme Court Issues Notice On NCW Plea Challenging Bombay HC’s POCSO Acquittal LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK10 Feb 2021 12:49 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice on a petition filed by the National Commission for Women challenging the controversial judgment of Bombay High Court(Nagpur Bench) which held that groping over clothes without actual ‘skin to skin’ touch will not amount to ‘sexual assault’ under the POCSO Act.A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India also issued notice on another petition…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice on a petition filed by the National Commission for Women challenging the controversial judgment of Bombay High Court(Nagpur Bench) which held that groping over clothes without actual ‘skin to skin’ touch will not amount to ‘sexual assault’ under the POCSO Act.A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India also issued notice on another petition filed by the State of Maharashtra against the High Court verdict.However, the Court said that it was not entertaining the petitions filed by organizations such as Bharatiya Stree Sakthi and Youth Bar Association as the State has already challenged the judgment. The bench observed that such NGOs have no locus standi in a criminal matter.Nevertheless, the bench has granted liberty to the organizations to approach the Attorney General for India – who has already filed a petition against the judgment- to raise their points. The AG agreed to hear such organizations.At first, the bench was not inclined to entertain the petition filed by the NCW as well, and suggested that they intervene in the petition filed by the AG.In response, Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for the NCW, submitted that it has a statutory duty under the National Commission for Women Act to intervene in the matter.Luthra referred to sub-sections (d) and (e) of Section 10(1) of the NCW Act to submit that the statutory body has the obligation to take up with authorities cases of violations of law related to protection of women and review inadequacies and deficiencies of law. The senior counsel added that the High Court judgment was a dangerous precedent.On January 27, the Supreme Court had stayed the acquittal under the said judgment of Bombay High Court on a mention made by the Attorney General for India.Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that the judgment which held that ‘skin to skin’ contact is necessary for sexual assault under POCSO Act is ‘unprecedented’ and is ‘likely to set a dangerous precedent’.In the impugned judgment, the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court held that such an act would amount to ‘molestation’ under Section 354 of IPC and not Sexual assault under section 8 of the POCSO Act.The Single bench of Justice Pushpa Ganediwala made this observation while modifying the order of the Sessions Court which held a 39-year-old man guilty of sexual assault for groping a 12- year- old- girl and removing her salwar.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”. “The act of pressing of breast of the child aged 12 years, in the absence of any specific detail as to whether the top was removed or whether he inserted his hand inside top and pressed her breast, would not fall in the definition of ‘sexual assault'”, the court held, adding, “The act of pressing breast can be a criminal force to a woman/ girl with the intention to outrage her modesty”.Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more