On Monday, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said it will be challenging the Bombay High Court’s judgement on sexual assault by taking the matter to the Supreme Court. The judgement states that groping without ‘skin to skin’ contact is not a sexual assault as defined under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
NCW Chairperson, Rekha Sharma stated, “This judgment will not only have cascading effect on various provisions involving safety and security of women in general but also put all the women under ridicule and has trivialized the legal provisions provided by the legislature for the safety and security of women,”
Addressing the subject matter, she announced that the NCW will be challenging the Bombay High Court. “The NCW is challenging the Hon’ble Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench judgment in Criminal Appeal No. 161 of 2020, Satish Ragde v. the State of Maharashtra dated 19.01.2021,” Sharma’s tweet reads.
Justice Pushpa Ganediwaa of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court passed a judgement on January 19 stating that there must be ‘skin to skin contact with sexual intent’ in order to consider the act as sexual assault. In her verdict, only groping will not fall under the definition of sexual assault.
The judgement came to pass while the High Court was listening to the plea of a man named Satish who was convicted for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. The accused was allegedly attempting to remove the girl’s salwar after pressing her breast when the victim’s mother reached the site and prevented further damage.
Justice Ganediwala stated the act did not amount to ‘sexual assault’ since the accused didn’t ‘removed clothes of the victim or slid hands inside the garments, making it a physical or skin-to-skin contact.’