Touching a child's cheeks with no sexual intent not assault, says Bombay HC
The high court said this granting bail to a 46-year-old man accused of taking a minor inside his chicken shop and pressing her cheeks.
In a recent order, the Bombay high court has said that touching the cheeks of a child without any sexual intent can not be considered as 'sexual assault' under the Pocso Act. The court made this observation as it granted bail to a 46-year-old man, who was booked under various offences under Pocso. The accused runs a chicken centre and was accused of molesting a minor inside his meat shop. The incident took place in 2020 and the accused was arrested by Thane's Rabodi police. Since then, the accused was in jail.
Reports said that a woman had seen the accused taking the girl to his shop and touched her cheek. He reportedly opened his shirt and was about to open his pant. The court order, however, says that the child's mother lodged the complaint and it was she who saw the shopkeeper touching the cheeks of her daughters. The court order does not mention anything else apart from touching the cheeks.
Hearing the case, the bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde said that primary evaluation of the material on record does not suggest that he allegedly touched the cheeks of the child with any sexual intent.
"Whoever with sexual intent touches the vagina, penis, anus, or breast of the child or makes the child touch the vagina, penis, anus, or breast of such person or any other person, or does any other act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without penetration is said to commit sexual assault," section 7 of the Pocso Act reads, cited by the court in this case, reads.
(With PTI inputs)