The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Bombay High Court order which acquitted a man under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act saying â€œgroping a minor’s breast without skin to skin contact cannot be termed as sexual assaultâ€.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal at Supreme Court challenged the Bombay High Courtâ€™s decision and said that the judgment would set a dangerous precedent.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian stayed the high court order after Attorney General K K Venugopal mentioned the matter.
The top court also issued notice to the Maharashtra government and permitted the AG to file an appeal against the January 19 verdict of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.
The High Court on January 19, had said that groping a minor’s breast without skin to skin contact cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the POCSO Act. Since the man groped her without removing her clothes the offence cannot be termed as sexual assault and, instead, constitutes the offence of outraging a woman’s modesty under IPC section 354.
The high court had modified the order of a Sessions court, which had sentenced a 39-year-old man to three years of imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.