Opening pants zip
The Bombay High Court judge, who ruled on the skin-to-skin contact case states that opening pants zip is not a sexual assault. He gave this ruling against the sentence and conviction of a 50-year-old man molesting a 5-year-old girl in a criminal appeal.
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court held that the opening the zip of a pant does not come under the criteria of ‘sexual assault’ under the protection of children from sexual offenses (POCSO) act 2012.
What does the new statement say about opening pants zip?
This ruling was pronounced by Justice Pushpa Ganediwala who stated that “the act of holding a girl’s hands and opening the zip of pants will not come under the definition of sexual assault. This act would instead amount to sexual harassment under section 354-A (1) (i) of the Indian penal code.”
She gave this ruling against a criminal appeal which was ruled by the supreme court as ‘aggravated sexual assault’, and would be punishable by law under Section 10 of POCSO. He also stated that “ sexual assault as defined under Section 7 of POCSO says that 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.
Since no actual touching of the private parts of the victim happened in the case, the single-judge high court considered if the act would actually come under the ambit of the third part of the definition, any other act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without permission.
And on this very basis, the high court ruled the judgement that “the acts of ‘holding the hands of the prosecutrix’, or ‘opened zip of the pant’ as has been allegedly witnessed by PW-1, in the opinion of this court, does not fit in the definition of sexual assault.
According to POCSO, ‘sexual assault’, when committed against a child aged less than twelve years, it will become ‘aggravated sexual assault’ under Section-9, which is punishable under Section-10.
Considering the fact that the offense of ‘aggravated sexual assault’ has a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment, the court said that allegations are not sufficient to fix criminal liability on the accused for that offense under Section 10 of POCSO.
“Considering the nature of the act, which could be established by the prosecution and considering the punishment provided for the aforesaid crimes, in the opinion of this court, the imprisonment which he has already undergone would serve the purpose,” stated the court.
The man was sentenced to five years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000 by the Supreme Court.
However, Justice Pushpa Ganediwala set aside his conviction under Sections 8, 10 and 12 of POSCO act, observing that the case came under the purview of sexual harassment, stating “ the offense of sexual harassment under section 354A (1) (i), which deals with physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures, is attracted in the case.”
The alleged man was held guilty under the section 354A (1) (i) IPC, which gives only an imprisonment of three years.
Complaint that led to this verdict
In the complaint that was lodged by the victim’s mother, it was stated that she saw the accused with his zip open holding the hands of her daughter.
She also testified that the accused man removed his penis from the pant and asked the daughter to come to bed for sleeping, as told by her daughter who fell victim to this.
Justice Pushpa Ganediwala had drawn major criticism from all across the nation regarding another judgment, which she gave earlier this month.
There she stated that groping a minor’s breast without ‘skin to skin contact’ cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the POSCO act.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday stated that this controversial order of the Bombay high court with the attorney general K.K. Venugopal, who brought this judgment to the attention of the supreme court which stated that it would be setting a dangerous precedent.
Justice Ganediwala stated that there must be a skin to skin contact with sexual intent for an act to be considered as a sexual assault.
And this particular statement of his has set the common people angered seriously, questioning his sense of judgement and morality. These cases have set fire to the already widespread criticism and anger of the public regarding the judgement of these cases, questioning its validity.
With the cases of rape and molestation rising day by day in the country, these kind of incidents regarding such judgements are enough to spread fear and anguish among the women of this country who are now questioning the reliability of the lawmakers.