Mumbai: A court in Mumbai, hearing a case registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, has convicted a 22-year-old man for touching a minor girl’s posterior, saying the gesture proves that it was done with sexual intent to outrage the child’s modesty.
Sessions judge of the special POCSO court M.A. Baraliya said the act of touching or patting a child’s buttocks attracts provisions of POCSO — a law meant to deal with cases of child abuse.
Such an act, the judge added, was done with full knowledge and intention to outrage the child’s modesty, and to assault her sexually.
The judge said it was obvious that touching the buttocks of the girl cannot be said to be without sexual intention.
The court on 12 February sentenced the man to five years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000, rejecting his defence that patting the buttocks was not an offence under POCSO.
The case was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by the 10-year-old girl’s parents on 17 September 2017, alleging the accused touched her posterior when she was on her way to a temple.
The accused challenged his prosecution under POCSO on the ground that he never touched the victim’s private parts, but only her posterior. It was argued that the prosecution failed to bring on record evidence to prove the allegation beyond reasonable doubt.
However, the judge rejected the arguments of the accused and held that the term private parts is to be interpreted in the context of what is meant by it in our society.
She refused to go by the Google interpretation, as was suggested by the accused in his defence.
“Google might not be interpreting bums as a private part, as mentioned by the accused’s advocate, but it is not an acceptable interpretation as far as we Indians are concerned,” the judge said.
“The accused has not touched either vagina, breast or anus of the girl, but touched her bums. The touching, as stated under section 7 of POCSO Act, 2012, if is to the other organs, those categorised, then it must be with sexual intention,” the court said.
Judge relied on SC judgment involving KPS Gill
Judge Baraliya relied upon the 2005 Supreme Court judgement involving former Punjab police chief K.P.S. Gill, who was found guilty of outraging the modesty of an IAS officer after he slapped her on her posterior.
The top court had in that case held that by touching the body of the complainant with culpable intention, the accused had committed the offence.
Also read: ‘Absurd interpretation’ — experts say HC’s POCSO order in groping case wrong on many levels