Attorney General for India KK Venugopal urged the SC today to reverse the controversial judgment of the Bombay HC which held that “Pressing Breasts Without Disrobing Not “Sexual Assault” As Per POCSO Act But Offence Under Sec 354 IPC.”
The Attorney General submitted before a bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi that the judgment would mean that a man who sexually abuses a child after wearing a pair of surgical gloves will be acquitted. He also pointed out that there were 43,000 offences registered under the POCSO Act in the last one year.
The bench was hearing the appeal filed by the Attorney General against the HC’s judgment. The State of Maharashtra’s counsel Rahul Chitnis told the bench that the State was supporting the AG’s arguments.
On August 6, the bench had appointed Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave as an amicus curiae in the matter, there was no one representing the accused. Along with it, the SC is also considering the appeal filed by the State of Maharashtra against another controversial judgment of the Bombay HC which held that the act of holding a minor girl’s hands and opening the zip of pants will not come under the definition of “sexual assault” under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.
The judgement held “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 matter will be next heard on September 14.