Touching cheeks without sexual intent wouldn't attract offence of 'sexual assault' under POCSO

Touching cheeks without sexual intent wouldn't attract offence of 'sexual assault' under POCSO

Mohammad Ahmed Ulla Vs The State of Maharashtra

Bombay HC

27/08/2021

Bail Application No. 1189 of 2021

About/from the judgment:

Touching the cheeks without sexual intent would not attract the offence of 'sexual assault', as defined under Section 7 of the POCSO Act, the High Court has observed while granting bail to a man booked under various offences under POCSO.

Granting bail to a 46-year-old man, the Court observed that primary evaluation of the material on record does not suggest that he allegedly touched the cheeks of the victim with sexual intent.

The applicant runs a chicken centre and he has been accused of sexually abusing the 8-year-old victim at the material time, the Victim's mother lodged First Information Report in which she stated, that the applicant touched the cheeks of her daughter inside the shop premises, where he was running the business.

An FIR was registered against him for the ofences punishable under Sections 354, of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 8, 9(m), 10 and 12 of the POCSO Act, 2021. Whereafter, the applicant was arrested, an investigation was conducted and a final report had been filed.

It may be noted that Section 7 of the POCSO Act defines sexual assault in the following terms:

"Whoever with sexual intent touches the vagina, penis, anus, or breast of the child or makes the child touch the vagina, penis, anus, or breast of such person or any other person, or does any other act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without penetration is said to commit sexual assault."

Noting the circumstances of the case, the Court ordered his release on executing PR bond for the sum of Rs.25,000/- with one or more sureties in like sum.

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