SHIVEK J. 26 January 2021
The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court ruled that tapping a child's breasts without 'skin-to-skin touch' would constitute intrusion under the Indian Penal Code, but not the more extreme crime of 's*xual assault' under the Act on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO).
A single bench of Justice Pushpa Ganediwala made the point, thus changing the decision, a court of sessions that found a 39-year-old man guilty of exaggerated abuse on a 12-year-old girl and taking her salwar.
The court has now sentenced the man under Section 354 IPC (outraging the modesty of a woman) to one year's imprisonment for a minor offence (Satish v Maharashtra State).
The sessions court held him guilty under Sections 354, 363 (kidnapping), and 342 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code and also under Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
According to the court, s*xual harassment under Section 8 of the POCSO Act will result in a minimum sentence of three years relative to the exaggeration of a woman's modesty under section 354 of the IPC, which is subject to a minimum penalty of only one year. Both offences are subject to a mandatory incarceration of five years.
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