Pressing Breast without removal of dress is not sexual assault under POCSO : Bombay HC

A single bench of judge bench was hearing the matter of sexual assault in which the accused was convicted for sexually assaulting a minor girl. While modifying the conviction of the accused, the Judge noted that the sexual assault under POCSO is defined as an offense when the act involves intention of sexually assaulting by touching the private parts of the child Or making the child touch the private parts of the accused. Further, the court said that the provisions of POCSO involves committing any other act with sexual intention which involves physical contact without penetration.

The judge noticed that “Admittedly, it is not the case of the prosecution that the accused removed her top and pressed her breast. As such, there is no direct physical contact i.e. skin-to-skin with sexual intent without penetration.” Further, the judge also said that to consider the ‘stringent’  punishment under sexual assault ,”stricter proof and serious allegations are required”. 

The court remarked that “The act of pressing the breast of a child aged 12 years, in the absence of any specific detail as to whether the top was removed or whether he inserted his hand inside her top and pressed her breast, would not fall under the definition of ‘sexual assault’, it would certainly fall within the definition of section 354 of the IPC, which penalises outraging the modesty of a woman.”