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Critically examining the matter of skin to skin contact in POCSO cases


The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its judgment Attorney General for India v. Satish and another put away the judgment of Bombay H.C. which held that skin-to-skin contact is an essential facet for a crime of sexual assault to be made out under the POCSO Act, 2012. The case emerged out of requests documented by the Attorney General of India, the NCW, and the State of Maharashtra against two decisions of the Bombay court, both composed by Justice Ganediwala. In this article, the writer will feature current realities, entries made, and the judgment given by the Supreme Court of India for this situation.


A 12-year-old minor girl was brought away by a man to his back home under the guise to give guava and afterwards this very nearly 40 years of age man grabbed her, attempted to take off her garments, and limited her in a room. She began crying and yelling and fortunately, her mom acted the hero in time and her cry was heard by a couple of neighbors, who were sufficiently benevolent to affirm. On nineteenth January 2021, a woman judge of the Bombay H.C. gave a decision that, as there was no skin-to-skin contact there was no offense of  “sexual assault” under the POCSO Act, and this episode just sums up “Insulting Modesty of Woman” under the IPC.  Further, the term of detainment was decreased to 1 year from 3 years. Thus, following shock and fights all through the country, on 27th January 2021, this request for the Bombay H.C. was retained by the Supreme Court. Further, the Judge has been downgraded because of passing such silly orders, as the Supreme Court Collegium has removed suggestions to make the appointed authority super durable.

Interpretation By The Cout

The sole explanation given by the woman judge in diminishing the detainment terms to 1 year and holding the individual not blameworthy under the POCSO Act for Sexual Assault is because the appointed authority felt that the base discipline of 3 years under the POCSO Act is unbalanced for the detailed occurrence, and the episode explained above isn’t serious enough in that frame of mind to draw in 3 years of thorough detainment except if there are more serious episodes where there is skin to skin contact. It has additionally been investigated by the academicians that such a silly end to prohibit the above episode of youngster sexual offense as rape for the absence of skin to skin contact under the POCSO Act, can not be arrived at because of any law on the translation of rule nor by straightforward use of rationale. There is positively not a great reason to legitimize this decision.

Judiciary Response On Skin To Skin Contact

A total of 4 appeals were recorded under the steady gaze of the Supreme Court of India by the appellants – Attorney General for India, NCW, State of Maharashtra, and litigant – denounced accused against the judgment dated 19 January 2021 passed by Bombay H.C. holding that skin to skin contact is important to comprise an offense of rape under Section 7 of the POCSO Act. One more allure was recorded by the State of Maharashtra against the judgment of a similar seat dated 15 January 2021 wherein it was held that demonstrations of ‘holding the hands of the minor young lady’, or ‘opening the speed of gasp’ don’t comprise rape under the POCSO Act. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India heard and discarded every one of the requests together. The translation of the arrangements of the POCSO Act as finished by the Bombay H.C. would devastatingly affect society at large. All the supposed demonstrations of the charge including taking the casualty to his home, eliminating salwar, squeezing bosoms and mouth were acts adding up to ‘sexual assault inside the significance of section 7 culpable with section 8 of the POCSO Act.

The understanding of the word ‘actual contact’, as signifying ‘skin-to-skin contact’ is a restricted understanding that nullifies the very point and object of the POCSO Act. There was no extension for use of the standard of ejusdem generis and it ought not to be applied where it would overcome the actual object of the statute. Section 7 incorporates two sections first, is a demonstration of ‘contacting with sexual purpose the vagina… ‘ and the second, relates to ‘some other demonstration with a sexual plan which includes actual contact without entrance’.

In this way, means the rea-the sexual goal of an individual is the most significant and material thing in the event of the offense of sexual assault. The terms ‘contact’ and ‘actual contact’ in section 7 have been utilized conversely by the legislature. In expressions of sections 29 and 30 of the POCSO Act, the court is expected to assume the sexual aim concerning the blamed and it is for him to demonstrate that he had no such aim or guilty mental state. The attack is supposed to be aggravated in nature. For example, sub-section (m) of section 9 states that whoever commits the offense of sexual assault on a child under 12 years is said to commit the offense of aggravated sexual assault. As mentioned under section 10 of the said act It accommodates discipline for aggravated sexual assault for example detainment of one or the other portrayal for a term which will not be under five years yet which might reach out to seven years, and fine.

Provisions Under POCSO Act

The central concern for the situation connects with the translation of section 7 of the POCSO Act. The Court saw that while deciphering a rule, such a development must be taken on which advances the object of the regulation and forestalls its conceivable maltreatment. The Court likewise saw that the POCSO Act was established to keep youngsters from rape, lewd behavior, and pornography. After breaking down the word reference significance of the words ‘contact’ and ‘actual contact’, the court communicated its concurrence with the accommodation of appellants that the two words have been utilized reciprocally in section 7 by the legislature. The Court concurred with the accommodation made for the sake of denouncing that articulation ‘sexual plan’ in section 7 can’t be bound to any foreordained construction and is an issue of reality to be chosen for each situation. The Court anyway dismissed the accommodation that actual contact in section 7 methods skin-to-skin contact.

Depending on the proverb ‘Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pereat’, the court saw that any limited translation which would overcome the object of an arrangement can’t be acknowledged. Deciphering the articulation ‘actual contact’ to imply ‘skin-to-skin contact’ would prompt a ridiculous translation that could never have been the goal of the governing body. Such translation would disappoint the actual object of the resolution and would be exceptionally unfavorable as the demonstrations of contacting the body of the youngster with gloves material or condoms wouldn’t add up to rape under section 7 regardless of whether they are committed with sexual aim. The court saw that it is a settled place that corrective resolutions must be understood rigorously yet it is similarly settled that conditions of a rule ought to be understood concerning the specific circumstance and different arrangements to make a predictable sanctioning of the entire rule connecting with the subject matter. The Court would not make a difference to the standard of lenity and saw that it is a settled recommendation of regulation that the legal equivocalness ought to be summoned if all else fails of translation.

Where the aim of the lawmaking body is clear, the courts can not make vagueness to overcome such a goal. The Court held that there is no vagueness or lack of definition in section 7 to summon the Standard of Lenity. for a term at the very least five years under section 10 of the POCSO Act. Justice Ravindra S. Bhatt in his agreeing judgment directed out the need to decipher the resolution with regards to the conditions that brought about its introduction to the world. In his judgment, the Hon’ble judge depended on the underhandedness rule of understanding of resolutions which gives that courts need to decipher the law in order to stifle the wickedness and advance the cure. He noticed that the judgment given by the Bombay Court will in general proceed with the naughtiness that the Parliament wished to avoid. He likewise noticed that in section 7 of the POCSO Act, the term ‘actual contact’ is of more extensive import than the word ‘contacting’ and isn’t restricted to contact. The articulation ‘some other demonstration’ including ‘actual contact’ may incorporate direct actual contact by the wrongdoer, with some other body a piece of the casualty with the exception of those referenced in the initial segment of section 7 and different demonstrations like the utilization of an item by the guilty party, drawing in actual contact with the person in question.

Indeed, even no contact by the wrongdoer might go under the domain of the saying “some other demonstration”. For instance for a situation where the casualty is constrained to contact oneself. To decide if contact or actual contact is made with sexual purpose, one needs to check out the encompassing conditions. For example, the idea of the relationship with the youngster, the length of contact, its intentionality, and whether there was a genuine non-sexual reason for the contact, spot and direct of the denounced when such leads are significant contemplations. Courts need to remember that sexual purpose isn’t characterized but is subject to the current realities of a case.

Judgment Pronounced By the Court

The Supreme Court of India put away the request passed by the Bombay Court on account of blaming the accused and reestablished the request for the Exceptional Court. The accused was sentenced for the offenses culpable under section 8 of the POCSO Act and sections 342, 354, and 363 of the Indian Penal Code. The accused was ordered to go through detainment for a considerable length of time and a fine of Rs.500/ – and in default thereof to go through basic detainment for one month for the offense under section 8 of the POCSO Act. As the accused was condemned for a significant offense under section 8 of the POCSO Act, no different sentence was forced upon him for different offenses under the Indian Penal Code. The accused was indicted for the offenses under section 354-A (1)(i) and 448 of the Indian Penal Code as and for the offenses under sections 8, 12, and 10 read with section 9(m) of the POCSO Act. The court guided him to go through detainment for a very long time for the offense under section 10 of the POCSO Act and to pay a fine of Rs. 25,000 and in default thereof to languish straightforward detainment for over a half year. No different sentence was forced upon him for different offenses under the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act.

Concluding Remarks

For this situation, the Supreme Court of India has given a milestone judgment by switching the questionable decisions passed by the Bombay H.C. which were vigorously scrutinized for being terrible in regulation. In any case, it is lamentable the Court in a nation would pass such a judgment that makes a joke of the law by totally dismissing the regulative history of the POCSO Act and the significant articles that the Demonstration tries to accomplish. To close, it is appropriate to refer to the accompanying perception made by Hon’ble Equity Ravindra S. Bhatt, “It is no important for any appointed authority’s obligation to strain the plain expressions of a resolution, to the point of being indistinguishable and to the mark of its obliteration, subsequently denying the call of the times that youngsters frantically need the confirmation of a regulation intended to safeguard their independence and respect, as POCSO does”.


This article is written by Saumya Tiwari, student of Graphic Era University, Dehradun.

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