The Bombay High Court observed that an accused can’t be charged with sexual assault under the POCSO Act of 2012 (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) unless the act was committed with sexual intent. The observation was made by the court while granting anticipatory bail to a Pune resident who was accused of tearing off clothes of a minor, while also touching her inappropriately.
According to the complaint registered with Chaturshringi police station at Pune by a 20-year-old woman, the accused Omkar Gaikwad reportedly assaulted the complainant and her family on October 19 after having barged into their house along with his wife and two other persons. Reportedly, Gaikwad had a dispute with the complainant's family over leave and license agreement relating to a shop. They had exchanged legal notices with each other over the same in past.
On October 19, after barging into the complainant's house Gaikwad allegedly started physically assaulting her parents. He even went on to allegedly assault her and her 17-year-old younger sister. It was further alleged in the complaint that during the assault, Gaikwad ripped off her and her minor sister’s clothes and touched them inappropriately. Following this, an FIR (First Information Report) was registered against the accused at Chaturshringi police station.
The court granted anticipatory bail to the accused in the view that no intent of sexual assault has so far been proven in the case. Moreover, it was said that, “prima facie, in absence of the sexual intent being exhibited by the applicant and in the backdrop of the agreement, which possibly is a point of discord between the parties, the applicant is entitled for protection in anticipation of his arrest.”
Image Credit: The Indian Express
Shikha Chandra is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.