New Delhi, Feb 4 : The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday moved the Supreme Court challenging the the Bombay High Court’s controversial verdict, acquitting a 39-year-old man accused of groping a 12-year-old girl through her dress, stating there was no skin-to-skin contact.
The top court stayed this judgment on January 30, after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal described the judgment as disturbing and having potential to set a dangerous precedent.
The commission said it is aggrieved by this order, and the perverse interpretation adopted by the High Court that the term “physical contact” in Section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) means only “skin to skin touch”.
“If such a perverse interpretation of physical contact is allowed, it will adversely impact the basic rights of women, who are victims of sexual offences in the society and will undermine the beneficial statutory safeguards prescribed under various legislations aimed at protecting the interest of women,” the plea said.
Clarifying Section 7, the plea said that if an accused touches a victim (or a victim’s body part) with sexual intent, then the act of “sexual assault” is complete, and there can be no further classification of contact, i.e. skin to skin contact.
The plea stressed that the view adopted by the High Court is perverse and bad in law and against the settled principles of criminal jurisprudence in relation to the interpretation of laws enacted for protection of women from sexual abuse and violence across nations.
“The Impugned Order has trivialized the provision provided by the framers of the enactment for the safety and security of women and children. Therefore, the observations made by the High Court ought to be set aside, otherwise the safety of young girls and women in general will be severely jeopardised,” it contended.
The NCW said through this interpretation of the Act, the High Court ingresses into the domain of the legislature and has written into the law more than what was intended by the framers of the enactment.
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