Touching hand without sexual intent not assault under Pocso Act: Bombay HC

Updated on Dec 28, 2020 12:54 AM IST

The court was hearing the anticipatory bail application of a 27-year-old man from Baramati who had held the hand of a 17-year-old girl and “expressed his love” to her

The court also restrained the man from entering the area where the complainant resides till the charge sheet in the case is filed.(HT FILE)
The court also restrained the man from entering the area where the complainant resides till the charge sheet in the case is filed.(HT FILE)
ByK A Y Dodhiya

The Bombay high court (HC) has held that merely holding or touching the hand without sexual intent does not amount to sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and granted anticipatory bail to a man booked for holding the hand of a 17-year-old while expressing his love to her.

A bench of justice Bharati Dangre while hearing the anticipatory bail application of the 27-year-old man from Baramati was informed by advocate Ranjeet Pawar that his client had expressed his love towards the teenager, but he had no sexual intent. It was a plain exhibition of his feelings. Pawar further submitted that the sessions court had rejected the application and hence he had approached HC.

According to the complaint, the girl is a student, and the accused is her neighbour. While she was on her way for tuitions, the accused stopped her and expressed his love for her. When she not did respond, he caught her right hand and again expressed his love. She managed to escape, but the man persisted. He warned her from disclosing the incident to anyone and also sent her threatening messages on her father’s mobile phone using different SIM cards. The complaint stated that after going through the ordeal for eight months, the girl decided to lodge a complaint.

The man was booked under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Pocso Act, 2012.

Additional public prosecutor opposed the man’s anticipatory bail plea on the grounds that his custodial interrogation was required to ascertain from where he had sourced the different SIM cards. However, the court was not satisfied with the argument.

“Prima facie, looking at the allegations levelled in the FIR (first information report), the applicant had expressed his feeling of love towards the complainant by holding her hand on one occasion. This by itself cannot be said to be falling within the sweep of section 7 (Pocso Act), since prima facie, the ingredients of section 7 are not made out in the wake of allegations in the complaint or attempting to contact her by use of electronic communication,” observed the court.

“Subject to the stipulation that the applicant will in no manner pressurise the complainant, he is entitled for being released on bail in anticipation of his arrest,” said the bench, while allowing the bail.

The court also restrained the man from entering the area where the complainant resides till the charge sheet in the case is filed, and also asked him not make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing the facts to court or any police officer and should not tamper with evidence either.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, December 01, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals