Supreme Court changed the High Court’s decision on POCSO

High Court decision on POCSO

Recently The Supreme Court quashed a Bombay High Court decision to acquit a man charged with assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) solely on the grounds that he groped the child over her clothes without ‘skin-to-skin’ contact.

“The act of touching a sexual part of the body with sexual intent will not be trivialised and not excluded under Section 7 of the POCSO Act,” a Bench of Justices U.U. Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi held.

SC’s decision:

  • It specifies that ‘touch’ in section 7 of the POCSO Act covers both direct and indirect touch, otherwise the Act would legalize a whole range of unacceptable behaviour. This would severely undermine a child’s dignity and autonomy.
  • The act of touching a sexual part of the body or any other act relating to physical contact, if done for ‘sexual purpose’, shall be deemed to be ‘sexual assault’ within the meaning of section 7 of the POCSO Act.

About the POCSO Act, 2012-

  • It was enacted to protect children from crimes like sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography etc.
  • It provides for the establishment of special courts to deal with such offences.
  • It stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date of filing of the complaint of the offence.
  • According to the Act, any person below the age of 18 years will be considered a child.
  • It may be noted that in August 2019, it was amended to provide for more severe punishment, including death penalty, for sexual offenses against children.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Rules, 2020

  • Mandatory police verification of employees.
  • State governments will make child protection policy.
  • Capacity building of policemen and forensic experts.
  • Periodic training of stakeholders.

Source – The Hindu

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