The Delhi High Court on Monday, November 6, passed a judgement regarding the offence of penetrative sexual assault under Section 3(c) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and said that a simple act of touch cannot be considered as a form of manipulation for penetrative sexual assault, as per an IANS report.
While hearing a plea from a man challenging his sentence of ten years for raping a six-year-old girl, Justice Amit Bansal noted that a simple act of touch could not be considered manipulation under Section 3(c) of the Act.
What is Section 3(c) of the POCSO Act?
The section defines penetrative sexual assault as manipulating any part of the child’s body to cause penetration or making the child do so with another person.
The judge also said that Section 7 of the POCSO Act already addresses the offence of “touch”, and if a touch were considered manipulation, Section 7 would become redundant.
What was the case at hand?
A man was convicted in the year 2020 for offences under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act.
It was found by Justice Bansal that Section 6 of the POCSO Act was not proven beyond reasonable doubt but the offence of aggravated sexual assault under Section 10 proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The judgement was therefore modified, convicting the appellant under Section 10 of the POCSO Act, sentencing him to five years of rigorous imprisonment, and retaining the fine of Rs 5,000 awarded by the trial court.
The court also noted that there were inconsistencies in the statements of the minor victim at various points of time and there were no independent witnesses or medical evidence to corroborate the prosecution’s case, as per IANS.