Mumbai, February 18: A special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Mumbai sentenced a 22-year-old man to 5-year jail for touching a 10-year-old girl's posterior. The court observed that the term "private part" is interpreted in the context of what it means in "our society". 'Consensual Sex Between Minors is Grey Area Under POCSO Act', Observes Bombay High Court.
Sessions judge of the special POCSO court MA Baraliya said the act of touching or patting a minor’s bum attracts provisions of POCSO. The judge said that touching the buttocks of the minor cannot be said to be without sexual intention. The case dates back to an incident that took place on September 17, 2017.
According to prosecution, the 10-year-old had stepped out to buy bread and saw four boys sitting outside a shop laughing at her. She returned home. Later, when she went out of the house again with a friend to go to temple those boys were still at the shop. One of them came near her and touched her posterior.
The child immediately returned home and told her mother about the occurrence, who in turn informed her husband about it over the phone. The minor's father rushed home. The father then rushed to the police station and filed a complaint.
The accused, identified as Sahar Ali Shaikh, was arrested the next day but was granted bail by the court later during the trial.
The accused challenged the prosecution that he never touched the minor's private parts, but only her posterior. Shaikh’s advocate argued that "bum is not a private part as alleged by the victim.”
However, the court rejecting the arguments of the accused said, "the term private part is to be interpreted in the context of what is meant by it in our society. Google might not interpret bum as private part as submitted by the advocate for the accused, but it is not acceptable interpretation as far as we Indians are concerned."
“The accused has not touched either vagina, breast or anus of the girl, but touched her bums. The touching, as stated under section 7 of POCSO Act, 2012, if is to the other organs, those categorised, then it must be with sexual intention,” the court said.
The court also cited the case involving late retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer KPS Gill, who was found guilty for patting an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer's posterior at a party in 1988.