Recently, a bizarre verdict was given by the Bombay High Court while hearing a case on sexual harassment, which was stayed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The decision of the Bombay High Court has been challenged in the Supreme Court by a petition filed by the Youth Bar Association of India. The bench presided by the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, issued a notice to the accused in the case and instructed them to reply within two weeks.
Justice Pushpa Ganediwala (Nagpur Bench) of the Bombay High Court had said in its judgment that touching a minor’s chest without taking off his/her clothes cannot be called sexual assault. The Justice further added that skin-to-skin contact with sexual intent is necessary for sexual assault. Such acts cannot be termed as sexual assault under the Protection of Child Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. Several social workers and activists have objected to this decision of the High Court and have knocked on the door of the Supreme Court to overhaul this judgement.
This decision of the Bombay High Court was pronounced on 19th January; 2020. The Petitioners (Youth Bar Association of India) state the statements made by Justice Pushpa Ganediwala as “unwarranted” and concern the modesty of a female child.
Let us inform you that this case is related to a minor victim. A 39-year-old man was convicted by a sessions court in a sexual assault case involving a 12-year-old girl. The convict was sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment. The incident took place in December 2016, when it was reported that the accused took the girl to his home on the pretext to feed her, where the convict touched his chest.