After the Bombay High Court observed that groping without 'skin to skin contact' does not amount to sexual assault during a recent ruling under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the SC against the Nagpur bench of the Bombay HC.
NCW in its SLP filed before the SC stated, "If such an interpretation of physical contact is allowed, it will adversely impact the basic rights of women, who are victims of sexual offences in the society and will undermine the beneficial statutory safeguards prescribed under various legislations aimed at protecting the interest of women."
While stating that the order of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has far-reaching ramifications for women, exposing them to a desensitized society, the National Commission for Women said that such a narrow interpretation adopted in the order sets a dangerous precedent which would have a cascading effect on the safety of women.
Earlier on January 19, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court judge, Justice Pushpa V Ganediwala, had observed that there should be "skin-to-skin" contact with "sexual intent" for the crime, and mere groping would not be considered as sexual assault. Justice Ganediwala acquitted that man of sexual assault on the grounds that pressing the breasts of a child over her clothes without direct "skin to skin" physical contact does not constitute "sexual assault" under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
(With ANI inputs)