Supreme Court stays Bombay HC order acquitting man under POCSO Act


A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India S. A. Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian stayed the order of acquittal passed by the Bombay High Court. The Bombay High Court acquitted a man of sexual assault under Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) on the ground that groping a child over her clothes without direct skin to skin physical contact does not constitute an offence under the Act. Attorney General K K Venugopal brought the matter to the notice of the Supreme Court as it was likely to set a dangerous precedent. The court stayed the acquittal and issued notice to the accused.

Originally, the Sessions Court convicted 39 year old Bandu Ragde under Section 8 of the POCSO Act and sentenced him to 3 years in jail. This order was modified by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court which acquitted him under the POCSO Act but instead convicted him under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with assault or use of criminal force on any woman with an intent to outrage her modesty and sentenced the accused Bandu to one year in jail. The accused was also held guilty under Section 342 of the IPC for wrongful confinement of the child and directed that both sentences were to run concurrently.



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