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Thursday, January 28, 2021

An assault on child And sexual rights (The Economic Times)

Quick takes, analyses and macro-level views on all contemporary economic, financial and political events.

The Bombay High Court recently acquitted a man, accused of luring a 12-year-old into his house, groping her and trying to disrobe her, of the charge of sexual assault, on the ground that there was no skin-to-skin contact, and, instead, found him guilty of the lesser charge of outraging the modesty of a woman.

The case has many layers, like an onion, and removing each layer can make you cry. It is a crime against a child, it is a sexual crime against a child, it involves defining sexual assault, it calls into question the propriety of mandatory minimum sentencing, it calls for deliberation on the deterrent power of maximalist penalties on the very likelihood of someone being found guilty.

The government did well to challenge the high court ruling, and the Supreme Court, to stay it. The high court was of the view that the man’s actions did not meet the criteria of ‘sexual assault’ as defined in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act. Sexual offences against children are different from those against adults, and laws and the legal community must recognise this. The ramifications of the same act of violation against a child and an adult are different in magnitude.

Therefore, the decision by the high court not to prosecute the accused whose victim was a minor under a law geared specifically to sexual offences against children was unfortunate. Sexual offence goes beyond rape, penetration and fondling and extends to intent to abuse and solicitation, including online. The punishment should be proportionate to the crime, said the high court. This is where the instrument of mandatory minimums must be revisited. Studies show that judges are reluctant to convict under the laws with mandatory minimums, as with Pocso.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.


Help Sampadkiya Team in maintaining this website

इस वेबसाइट को जारी रखने में यथायोग्य मदद करें -

-Rajeev Kumar (Editor-in-chief,


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