NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has urged the Maharashtra government to appeal against a Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court order which ruled that mere groping is not sexual assault and dropped charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) act in a case.The order has attracted widespread criticism.
The Commission, in its letter to the state chief secretary Sanjay Kumar, said on Monday that prosecution has failed to represent the case of the minor victim properly.
“If the prosecution had made the submissions as per the spirit of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the accused would have been acquitted from the serious offence against the minor,” said the letter.
It added that the remark that “skin to skin with sexual intention without penetration” also needs to be reviewed and the state should take note of this as it seems to be derogatory to the minor victim”.
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, last week, in a case had said that groping a minor’s breast without “skin to skin contact” cannot be termed as “sexual assault” under section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act while clarifying that it will still constitute an offence under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which pertains to outraging the modesty of a woman.