NCW strikes SC towards Bombay HC’s ‘skin-to-skin’ contact verdict

Satya Prakash
Today News Online Service
New Delhi, February 4

The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court’s verdict that acquitted a man accused of child abuse on the ground that  groping a child’s breasts without ‘skin-to-skin contact’ didn’t amount to ‘sexual assault’ under POCSO Act.

Drafted by advocate Shivani Luthra Lohiya, the NCW petition assailed the verdict delivered by Justice Pushpa Ganediwala, contending the interpretation that physical contact meant ‘skin to skin touch’ was perverse and bad in law.

The Supreme Court had on January 27 stayed the controversial verdict and the acquittal of the accused after Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde that the judgment would set a dangerous precedent.

“It is a very disturbing conclusion. Your Lordships should take note of this. I will have a petition filed tomorrow or Your Lordships may take suo motu notice. The order will set a dangerous precedent,” Venugopal had said.

Following public outcry over the judgment, the Supreme Court Collegium had reportedly withdrawn its recommendation for confirming Justice Pushpa Ganediwala as a permanent judge.

The NCW said the Bombay High Court’s decision “severely jeopardizes the interests of women and sets a dangerous precedent, which would have a cascading effect on the safety, security, integrity and dignity of women and children”.

It contended that the HC verdict overlooked the very purpose and object of the Act — the protection of weaker sections of the society.

Such an interpretation will adversely impact the rights of women, who were victims of sexual offences as it additionally required proof of disrobing.

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