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To insist skin-to-skin contact in POCSO cases means acquittal for abuser with gloves: Attorney General in SC

Terming the judgment a "dangerous and outrageous precedent", the Attorney General argued that a person wearing surgical gloves can feel the entire body of a child and get away with punishment.

To insist skin-to-skin contact in POCSO cases means acquittal for abuser with gloves: Attorney General in SC-dnm
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Bengaluru, First Published Aug 24, 2021, 2:49 PM IST
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The Attorney General of India KK Venugopal urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to reverse the controversial Bombay High Court judgment that held that "skin-to-skin" contact was necessary to invoke ‘sexual assault’ under Section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

Terming the judgment a "dangerous and outrageous precedent", the Attorney General argued that a person wearing surgical gloves can feel the entire body of a child and get away with punishment.

The Bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi called for any lawyer on the Supreme Court panel as well as an Advocate-on-Record to be appointed to represent the accused, as reported by Bar and Bench.

On January 19, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court acquitted a man of sexual assault, which held that pressing the breast of a 12-year-old child without removing her top will not fall within the definition of ‘sexual assault’.

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"If tomorrow a person wears a pair of surgical gloves and feels the entire body of a woman, he won't be punished for sexual assault as per this judgment. This is outrageous. Saying that skin-to-skin contact is required would mean a person wearing gloves getting an acquittal. The Judge clearly didn't see the far reaching consequences", the AG argued as quoted by LiveLaw.

The bench observed that service of show cause notice is complete in all matters. The Court then noted that though Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave was appointed as amicus curiae in the case, there was no one representing the accused.

The bench stated that it will ask the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee to appoint a counsel for the accused. "We can place the matter after two weeks", said the bench, as it listed the matter for further hearing on September 14. 

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