The Bombay High Court while granting anticipatory bail to an accused under POCSO Act has held that simply holding or touching one’s hand without any sexual intention does not constitute sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act.
As per the complaint filed the victim, 17 year old girl, is a student while accused, 27 year old man, is her neighbor. The accused had stooped the girl on her way for tuitions to express his love but she ignored his attempt. The accused then held her hand to express his love but the girl managed to free her hand. The accused persisted and reprimanded her from disclosing the incident to anyone. He used different Sim-cards to send threatening messages to the girl on her father’s phone. After suffering the ordeal for around eight months, the girl finally lodged the complaint.
The accused was booked under relevant sections of IPC and POCSO Act,2012.
The advocate, Ranjeet Pawar, appeared before the court on behalf of the accused and contended that his client simply expressed his love towards the girl without any sexual intention. The act was mere expression of feelings and as the Session court had rejected the application, he had moved to High Court to sought relief.
The bench of Justice Bharati Dangre was not satisfied with the arguments of Additional Public Prosecutor to have a custodial interrogation on the sources of different Sim-cards.
The court granting the anticipatory bail to the accused observed that the act of holding someone’s hand while expressing love does not fall under the ambit of Section7 of POCSO Act and thus the court is granting accused an anticipatory bail on the obligation that he will not pressurize the girl in any manner and is refrained from entering the area where the girl resides until the charge sheet of the case was filed.
REPORTED BY –SAMRIDHI ANAND