Any kind of touch with sexual intent amounts to sexual abuse : Supreme Court

New Delhi – A few days back, a Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court had ruled in a case of child sexual abuse that touching the breasts without undressing is not sexual abuse. However, the Supreme Court has again convicted the accused in the child sexual abuse case under the sections of the POCSO Act, saying that any touch with sexual intent is sexual abuse. The Supreme Court said that if we keep on debating whether the touch is on the clothes or the skin-to-skin contact, then the very purpose of the POCSO Act would be side-lined.

The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court had ruled, ‘Holding the hand of a minor girl or unzipping her pants does not amount to sexual harassment’. These things cannot be called sexual abuse under POCSO Act. For child sexual abuse to be proven, the body must be touched directly. Just fondling the body or touching the body unknowingly does not constitute sexual assault’. The Court had also acquitted the accused. The Nagpur Bench’s decision was challenged by the Centre in the Supreme Court.