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AG KK Venugopal slams 'no skin touch, no assault' verdict; calls it 'outrageous'

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AG KK Venugopal slams no skin touch, no assault verdict; calls it outrageous
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New Delhi: The Attorney General of India K.K. Venugopal slammed Bombay High Court judgment that held that 'skin-to-skin' contact is necessary to constitute sexual assault under the POCSO Act. Terming the verdict as outrageous, the AG argued that a person wearing surgical gloves can feel a woman's entire body and get away without any punishment.

"This is outrageous. The Judge clearly didn't see the far-reaching consequences", AG argued in the Supreme Court.

He reiterated that tomorrow any person who wears a surgical glove and feels the entire body of a woman including vagina without penetration and the minimum punishment of 3 years wouldn't apply to him.

In January this year, the AG moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court judgment acquitting a person under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, after he pressed a girl's breast over the dress stating there was no skin-to-skin contact.

The AG on Tuesday submitted before a bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and Ajay Rastogi that it is an outrageous judgement, as far as POCSO is concerned. The AG argued that the high court judge said skin-to-skin contact is required that would result in a person wearing surgical gloves and touching a woman inappropriately and getting an acquittal. He emphasized in this case, there was a girl child involved.

He said the girl was taken by the man, who touched her breast and pulled her salwar down. The daughter yelled and the mother rushed to her rescue and then filed a complaint.

Criticizing the high court order, the AG stressed it will become a precedent binding on magistrates in Maharashtra and added that there were 43,000 POCSO offences in the last year. The high court had modified the order of a sessions court, which sentenced a 39-year-old man to three years of imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

Advocate Rahul Chitnis, representing the Maharashtra government said they are supporting the AG's submission.

The bench observed that service of show cause notice is complete in all matters. However, nobody appeared on behalf of the accused. The bench noted that it will ask the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee to appoint someone as the 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.

The top court on January 27 had stayed the operation of the January 19 verdict of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court after the AG had mentioned it and was allowed to file an appeal. The top court appointed senior advocate Siddharth Dave as amicus curiae in the matter.

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TAGS:AG KK Venugopal Bombay HC POSCO act 
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