Outrage sparks in India after the High Court declared groping children without removing their clothes is not sexual assault.
The shocking news spread fear and outcry amongst locals while sending shockwaves around the world too. In addition, the news frustrated all the campaigners who are working relentlessly to raise their voices on the topic of sexual assault against both women and children.
According to media reports, the judgment came in last week when one of Bombay’s high court judges, Pushpa Ganediwala found a 39-year-old man ‘not guilty’ of committing sexual assault on a young girl. The judge mentioned how the culprit failed to remove the child’s clothing and therefore, there was no skin-skin contact. Hence, it was not a matter of sexual assault in their view.
On the other hand, the court’s documents mentioned how the man lured the girl into his home, promising to give her some guava. The incident took place in December 2016. On that occasion, he touched her chest, while attempting to remove her underwear too, as mentioned in the judgment.
Hence, the City Court found him guilty of assault, slapping him with a 3-year jail sentence for the crime. But when the culprit appealed to the High Court, they completely reversed the decision, declaring him non-guilty of sexual assault.
In addition, the judge gave out a rather diplomatic statement, where she mentioned that the man’s behavior does not fail the definition of sexual assault.
However, keeping in mind the stringent nature of punishment attached with the crime, the court needed greater evidence and more serious allegations to regard his offense as sexual assault.
More eyebrows were raised when critics mentioned how India’s Protection of Children From Sexual Offenses Act from 2012 doesn’t ‘explicitly’ mention the terms ‘skin to skin contact.
’ Hence, they failed to agree with the judge’s baseless decision, leading to widespread protests and outcry in the nation.
Therefore, the accused was acquitted of sexual assault but received a lesser degree charge of molestation, sentencing him to a one-year-long jail sentence.
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