SC sets aside Bombay High Court judgment , says skin Contact not necessary to be taken as sexual assault

The Supreme Court today set aside a controversial Bombay High Court judgment which had held that the ‘skin-to-skin’ contact was necessary to be taken as ‘sexual assault’ under Section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

A Bench of Justices U.U. Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela Trivedi held that the ingredient of the offence of ‘sexual assault’ under POCSO is sexual intent and skin to skin contact in such incidents is not relevant. The Bench underscored that the law has to be given an interpretation that gives effect to the intention of legislature instead of defeating it.

The Apex Court added that mandating ‘skin to skin’ contact would amount to a narrow and absurd interpretation. Justice Ravindra Bhat delivered a separate concurring judgment.

The top court had reserved its judgment in the matter on  30th of September. In its judgment today, the court said that when the legislature has expressed clear intention with regard to a law, courts cannot create ambiguity with respect to it.

The court while setting aside the High Court verdict ordered that the accused has to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and simple imprisonment for one month.

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