The Bombay High Court acquitted the man for offence under POCSO while maintaining his conviction under Section 354 of IPC.

    Keeping in mind basic principle of criminal jurisprudence  that the punishment for an offence shall be proportionate to the seriousness of the crime, the Hon’ble Bombay High Court passed a verdict that the act of pressing, of breast of the child aged 12 years, in the absence of any specific detail as to whether the top was removed or whether he inserted his hand inside top and pressed her breast, would not fall in the definition of ‘sexual assault’ under Section 7 and punishable under Section 8 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.(POSCO Act).

    The Hon’ble judge convicted the appellant under definition of the offence under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. The appellant had taken a 12-year girl to his home at the pretext of giving him guava and pressed her breast and tried removing his salwar. Finding her daughter missing the mother reached the appellants house where she found her daughter at the first floor in the room which was locked from outside. They straight went to the Nagpur police station and lodged an F.I.R.

    Taking into consideration the evidence of five witness the court held that as there is no direct physical contact i.e. skin to skin with sexual intent without penetration, having regard to the nature of the alleged act by the appellant and having regard to the circumstance the court held the convict under Section 354-Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.