Sexual assault charges cannot be slapped under POCSO Act unless sexual intent proved: Bombay HC
Sexual assault charges cannot be slapped under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act unless it is shown that the act was committed with sexual intent, the Bombay high court said last week. The court made the observation while granting anticipatory bail to a Pune resident accused of tearing off a minor’s clothes and touching her inappropriately while physically assaulting her.
Justice Bharati Dangre granted the bail saying the First Information Report filed against the accused on October 20 did not indicate that he committed the acts with sexual intent. The complainant in the case alleged her family had a dispute with the accused over a shop and they had exchanged legal notices over it. The accused allegedly barged into their house along with his wife and two others and started assaulting her parents. The complainant said the accused also assaulted her and her younger 17-year-old sister and ripped off their clothes. She alleged the attacker also touched both of them inappropriately.
“Prima facie, the offence under Section 7 and the punishment under Section 8 of the POCSO Act would not be attracted unless and until the sexual intent is specifically proven,” said Dangre. “This is a matter of trial since the FIR does not make out any sexual intent.”
Dangre said prima facie in absence of the sexual intent and in the backdrop of the discord between the two parties, the applicant is entitled to protection in anticipation of his arrest. In case of arrest, he has been ordered to be released on furnishing a personal bond worth Rs 25,000 and one or two sureties of the same amount.
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