Looking lecherously at a child is punishable under POCSO, says Bombay HC

Updated on Oct 01, 2017 12:25 AM IST
(Representative image)
(Representative image)
ByKanchan Chaudhari, Mumbai

In an important ruling, the Bombay high court has held that looking lecherously at a minor boy or a girl is punishable under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2005.

“Watching a child with sexual intent comes under mischief covered by Section 11 of the POCSO Act,” said Justice AM Badar, while rejecting a petition filed by two Daman residents.

Section 11 of the POCSO Act defines ‘sexual harassment of a child’, and includes the words ‘constantly watching a child with sexual intent’. This offence is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment and fine under Section 12 of the Act.

“Therefore, it cannot be said that there are no sufficient grounds to proceed against the accused for the offence as defined by Section 11 and made punishable under Section 12 of the POCSO Act,” the judge said, referring to the fact that a minor girl had named him as “having bad eye on her” in her statement to a metropolitan magistrate.

In her statement, the girl stated that “he always used to see her with bad intention”, the judge said, while rejecting the petition.

The duo had approached the high court (HC), seeking to quash the First Information Report (FIR) against them under provisions of the POCSO Act. Besides, it was also argued on their behalf that the FIR was based on vague complaint and there was no material to proceed ahead with the trial of the duo.

Justice Badar, however, said there was material to proceed against the accused as the victim herself had stated that he always “looked at her with bad intention”, and whether the act was with “sexual intent” or not is a matter of fact that can be decided only at the trial and not otherwise.

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