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Absence of injury irrelevant in cases of sexual assault under POCSO, says Bombay High Court

Written by Vidisha Mathur

In the case of Ramchandra Shrimant Bhandare v the State of Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court has observed that for the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act to be attracted, touching a child’s private parts with sexual intent is enough, the injury need not be proved.

The prosecution claims that the survivor girl was outside playing when the appellant took her with him, closed her eyes, and touched her intimate areas. An F.I.R was filed when the girl told her mother of the incident, and her statement was recorded.

A Special POCSO court of Mumbai sentenced the appellant to rigorous imprisonment for 5 years, convicted under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and section 8 of the POCSO act. This was challenged in this case.

The appellant counsel, Adv. Sushan Mhatre contends that the appellant was falsely implicated, owing to a hostile relationship between the appellant and the survivor’s father. He stated that the F.I.R. was inexplicably filed 2 days after the fact and that the medical certificate showed no injury sustained by the minor. He insisted that the prosecution’s case was not beyond doubt and hence, the sentence must be reconsidered.

The High Court though observed that the girl’s statement was sufficiently detailed and did not seem to be tutored into her response, and also stated that the absence of injury sustained was irrelevant.

Justice Sarang V. Kotwal held that Section 7 of the POCSO act dealing with sexual assault included touching private areas of a child with sexual intent, ample grounds to attract its provisions read with Section 8.

The appeal was thereby dismissed as the High Court refused to interfere with the conviction of the trial court.

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