HC: Physical manhandling of minor girl sexual assault - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

HC: Physical manhandling of minor girl sexual assault


HC: Physical manhandling of minor girl sexual assault

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the act of a person in physically contacting a minor girl child was covered within the definition of sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The Bench also refused to accept the argument of an accused that sexual intent was not made out merely because a minor girl had been manhandled

The judgment by Justice Fateh Deep Singh came on a petition filed by Sandeep Singh against the state. The Bench was told that a case was registered on January 31, 2017, for using criminal force towards women with intent to outrage her modesty and other offences under Sections 354 and 341 of the Indian Penal Code, besides the POCSO Act.

In her complaint, a 16-year-old school student had alleged that she was taking coaching, but was being stalked by a boy on way for past five-six days. The complainant confided the fact in her mother, who confronted the boy. But he assaulted her as well, leading to the registration of the present case.

Justice Fateh Deep Singh observed a special court framed charges against the accused for commission of offences under Sections 354 and 341 of the IPC and Section 8 of the POCSO Act while dismissing his application for his discharge vide order dated May 2, 2017. As a result, the accused/petitioner challenged the same in the revision petition before the High Court.

Justice Fateh Deep Singh further observed the allegations on the face of it showed that the girl, who happened to be the victim, claimed that the accused had mishandled her physically while stalking. The petitioner’s counsel, on the other hand, was disputing that. His contention was merely because the girl, a minor, had been manhandled, it did not lead to the conclusion that it was sexual intent. As such, no offence whatsoever, under Sections 7/8 of the POCSO Act was made out. The state counsel argued testimonies of the witnesses were reflective of the same. Therefore, charges had been rightly framed.

Dismissing the petition, Justice Fateh Deep Singh added: “It is by no means displaced that the victim happens to be minor school girl. The allegation hover around repeated stalking by the accused and, subsequently, physical assault of the victim, a female child, is in itself reflective of the element of sexuality involved in the crime”.

Referring to Section 7 of the POCSO Act, Justice Fateh Deep Singh said it “illustrates where the person physically contacts a minor female child, is covered within the definition of sexual assault, punishable under Section 8 of the POCSO Act”.

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