Mumbai, August 29: The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to a 46-year-old chicken seller, booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, observing that touching a kid's cheeks without sexual intent is not "sexual assault". The accused had been in jail for 13 months. He was arrested in July last for allegedly touching an eight-year-old girl inappropriately. Man's Second Marriage Not Domestic Violence Against Divorced First Wife, Says Bombay High Court.
According to a report by Times of India, the Bombay High Court observed that there is no evidence to suggest that the accused touched the girl's cheeks with a sexual intent. "In consideration of these facts, in my view, a case is made out for releasing the applicant on bail," it said. The High Court also made it clear that its observations would not impact other cases. 'Consensual Sex Between Minors is Grey Area Under POCSO Act', Observes Bombay High Court While Suspending Prison Term of Teen Convicted of Raping Minor Cousin.
The observations made "be construed as expression of opinion for the purpose of bail only and the same shall not in any way influence the trial in other proceedings", said the High Court. Seeking release of his client on bail, advocate Ram Prasad Gupta told the court that the accused had been framed by the complainant over business rivalry. He also submitted that his client won't runaway as he has his family too take care of.
A person, who lived near the shop of the accused, told the police that he had seen the accused signalling the girl to come to his shop. After the girl went inside, the accused pulled the shutter down. It was alleged that when the shutter was opened, the accused was found behaving inappropriately with the minor girl. Subsequently, the girl's mother lodged a complaint with the police.
The police registered an FIR on July 29 last year and later filed the chargesheet. The accused had been arrested, booked under POCSO Act and sent to jail.