India's SC sets aside lower court's ruling that skin-to-skin contact is essential for sexual offence case

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Nov 18, 2021, 04:47 PM(IST)

In this file photo, the Supreme Court of India can be seen Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

In a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the apex court has ruled that the most important ingredient in a rape case is sexual intent and not skin-to-skin contact with the child

The Supreme Court of India has overturned a verdict by the Bombay High Court in a sexual assault case.

In a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the apex court has ruled that the most important ingredient in a rape case is sexual intent and not skin-to-skin contact with the child.

The purpose of the law cannot be to allow the offender to escape the meshes of the law, it added.

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A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit said, ''We have held that when the legislature has expressed clear intention, the courts cannot create ambiguity in the provision. It is right that courts cannot be overzealous in creating ambiguity.''

''Such a narrow interpretation adopted by the high court in the impugned order would have had a cascading effect on the safety of women and children,'' it added.

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In response, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said in a statement, "The Commission welcomes the Hon'ble Supreme Court's verdict today and believes that the apex court's decision in the matter will uphold the legal and constitutional safeguard for women and children." 

The High Court had acquitted a 39-year-old man under the POCSO Act after he had been found guilty of sexual sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl and sentenced him to three years of imprisonment.

He was charged with the offence of outraging a woman's modesty under IPC section 354.
 

(With inputs from agencies)

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